Being Black in the Ivory

Truth-Telling about Racism in Higher Education

Edited by Shardé M. Davis

312 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, appends., bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-7826-9
    Published: February 2024
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-7825-2
    Published: February 2024
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-7827-6
    Published: February 2024

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When Shardé M. Davis turned to social media during the summer of racial reckoning in 2020, she meant only to share how racism against Black people affects her personally. But her hashtag, BlackintheIvory, went viral, fostering a flood of Black scholars sharing similar stories. Soon the posts were being quoted during summer institutes and workshops on social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. And in fall 2020, faculty assigned the tweets as material for course curriculum.

This curated collection of original personal narratives from Black scholars across the country seeks to continue the conversation that started with BlackintheIvory. Put together, the stories reveal how racism eats its way through higher education, how academia systemically ejects Black scholars in overt and covert ways, and how academic institutions—and their individual members—might make lasting change. While anti-Black racism in academia is a behemoth with many entry points to the conversation, this book marshals a diverse group of Black voices to bring to light what for too long has been hidden in the shadow of the ivory tower.

About the Author

Shardé M. Davis, PhD, is associate professor in the department of communication at the University of Connecticut.
For more information about Shardé M. Davis, visit the Author Page.


"The perils and possibilities of life for Black scholars exist in the same academic house. Shardé Davis's pathbreaking interventions on social media about what it means to be Black in higher education find an extended shelf life with this brilliant collection of bold voices speaking about what's wrong and how to fix it. Being Black in the Ivory is just what the doctor ordered. This book must be read by everyone and anyone who cares about Black scholars and scholarship in the twenty-first century!"—Michael Eric Dyson, University Distinguished Professor at Vanderbilt University, author of Entertaining Race

"Being Black in the Ivory is a collective exhale. Davis validates the experiences of Black scholars and reminds us that we are not crazy and we are not alone."—Kellie Carter Jackson, author of Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence, finalist for the MAAH Stone Book Award

"This book offers a lifeline to every Black person in academia, wherever you are. Wise, warm, and full of useful knowledge, Being Black in the Ivory should be a mandatory commencement gift."—Nell Irvin Painter, Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, at Princeton University

"Through gripping, powerful testimonials, this book reveals how academia can and does cripple Black scholars. Davis's introduction strikes just the right tone, offering a highly readable and excellent review of critical race theory and the risks undertaken by those who have shared their stories."—Deborah Gray White, Rutgers University

"This enriching anthology creates a space of solidarity for scholars and readers of Black identity, disrupts dominant notions of scholarship, and highlights voices that are often systemically silenced."—Ashley Carpenter, Appalachian State University