Semmes, Clovis E. 1949–

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Semmes, Clovis E. 1949–

(Jabulani K. Makalani)

PERSONAL: Born November 21, 1949, in Chicago, IL; son of Clovis E. (a corrective therapist and rehabilitation therapist for the blind) and Margaret G. (a teacher; maiden name, Sales) Semmes; married, wife's name Jean K., 1971; children: Jelani K., Maia J., Sala J. Ethnicity: "African American." Education: Northwestern University, B.A., 1971, Ph.D., 1978; University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, M.A., 1972.

ADDRESSES: Home—4315 Woodstream Dr., Ypsilanti, MI 48197. Office—Department of African-American Studies, Eastern Michigan University, 620 Pray-Harrold, Ypsilanti, MI 48197. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Chicago Skills Center, Chicago, IL, teacher with Neighborhood Youth Corps, summer, 1973; Malcolm X College of Chicago, Chicago, teacher, 1974; Kendall College, Chicago, teacher, summers, 1974–75; University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, Chicago, visiting lecturer, 1976–79, assistant professor of black studies, 1979–86, acting director of black studies, 1980–82; Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, assistant director of admissions and coordinator of admissions and financial aid for minority students, 1986–88, operations director for LEAD Program, 1987–88; Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, associate professor, 1988–93, professor of African-American studies, 1993–. Also teacher at Olive-Harvey College, 1976, Roosevelt University, 1976, 1977, and Northeastern Illinois University, 1986; guest lecturer at colleges and universities, including DePaul University, Wayne State University, and Concordia College, Ann Arbor, MI; guest on radio programs; workshop and conference presenter; consultant to Regal Theater Foundation.

MEMBER: American Association of University Professors, Association of Black Sociologists, National Council of Black Studies, Association of Social and Behavioral Scientists, American Sociological Association, Society for the Study of Social Problems, Association for the Study of African-American Life and History, Popular Culture Association, National Association of College Admission Counselors.

AWARDS, HONORS: Grants from S & H Foundation, 1981–82, and Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research, 1983–84; citation for "outstanding academic book," Choice, 1994, for Cultural Hegemony and African-American Development; fellow, National Endowment for the Humanities, 2003.


Cultural Hegemony and African-American Development, Praeger (Westport, CT), 1992.

Racism, Health, and Post-Industrialism: A Theory of African-American Health, Praeger (Westport, CT), 1996.

Roots of Afrocentric Thought: A Reference Guide to Negro Digest/Black World, 1961–1976, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1998.

The Regal Theater and Black Culture, Palgrave Macmillan (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to books, including Family Centered Nursing in the Community, edited by B. Logan and C. Dawkins, Addison-Wesley (Reading, MA), 1986; Yearbook of Cross-Cultural Medicine and Psychotherapy 1992, edited by W. Andritzky, International Institute of Cross-Cultural Therapy Research (Berlin, Germany), 1994; Multicultural Experiences, Multicultural Theories, edited by M. Rogers, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1996; and The Harlem Renaissance: A Gale Critical Companion, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2002. Contributor of articles and reviews to professional journals, including Western Journal of Black Studies, Indiana Magazine of History, Wyoming History Journal, Journal of Ethnic History, Journal of Ethnic Studies, American Journal of Sociology, Black Books Bulletin, Journal of African American Studies, Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, Journal of Negro Education, Black World, Journal of Black Studies, Black Issues in Higher Education, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Minority Voices, and National Journal of Sociology. Some writings appear under the name Jabulani K. Makalani.

SIDELIGHTS: Clovis E. Semmes once told CA: "Although my training is as a sociologist, I consider myself a scholar of the African-American experience who is not limited by disciplinary boundaries. My motivation to research and write has always been to reveal and disable the social and historical forces that have functioned to disadvantage and oppress black communities. Additionally, I believe my writing offers, through a focus on the African-American experience, an important medium to comprehend the universal human impulse to achieve social justice and human dignity.

"I am also motivated by a deep respect and appreciation for the genius, creativity, and spiritual fortitude of my elders and ancestors, whose teachings, example, and wisdom must be made available to future generations.

"My mother's great love for books and the fact that I became acquainted with libraries very early in life probably influenced my interest in writing. I also had great elementary school teachers who stressed reading and the language arts. Meeting and learning from highly accomplished African American scholars who were committed to positive social change and reading the works of great African American novelists, critics, historians, and social scientists solidified my interest in writing. Further, after making the decision during my first year of college to seek a Ph.D. and to teach at the college and university level, it seemed normal that research and writing would be central to my life. As an aspiring scholar, producing new, useful, and meaningful knowledge became an important goal.

"My writing process is informed by the desire to stimulate critical thought and meaningful social change. As ideas and insights come to me through study and observation, I write them down. Eventually these ideas become extended research projects that result in books and articles. Fortunately I have been able to steer clear of the distorting impact of careerism or the deforming quest for fame or commercial gain as a motivation to select my topics. Consequently, I say and do what I want; I am true to my own creative instincts. Each project represents an effort to fill a void and to create knowledge in an area that has not been addressed before.

"Nothing that I have learned as a writer has been surprising. However, writing continually reinforces my awareness of the need to believe in yourself, to use rejection as motivation to persevere, to be patient, dedicated, and disciplined, to cultivate internal spiritual strength, and to be honest. I enjoyed working on all of my books, and they are all my favorites.

"I hope that my books will be stimulating, edifying, and useful for many people currently and for generations to come. I especially hope that my work will inspire a significant number of my students to become scholars and to produce knowledge that can lead to a progressive and constructive way of life."