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Johnathan White was born in Norfolk, VA. He earned his MA and doctorate in History from the University of Pittsburgh. His dissertation examines the plight of black jazz musicians in Pittsburgh before and after integration. In particular, he examines oral testimonies to understand how collective memory interprets and reifies the past.
Dr. White has been employed at Penn State Greater Allegheny since 2007. He has taught a variety of courses in history, African-American studies, black arts, and leadership development. He co-founded the Study of Hip-Hop Conference and the Stewart and Jones Scholar Leadership Program.
Dr. White is engaged in community affairs as a board member of the Langston Hughes Poetry Society. Furthermore, he served as director of the Full Armor Institute, which focuses on mentoring young black men, at Mt. Olive Baptist church. He has created and conducted several black history workshops along with seminars on educating black men and living a vibrant lifestyle that synthesizes faith and the pursuit of social justice.
Research, Professional or Personal Interests :
I'm Interested in post- slavery black studies, in particular the 1920s Black Renaissance and the modern and post-modern black liberation movements. I'm also engaged in an etymological analysis of Hip-Hop lyricism, in particular how the spoken word serves as a potent weapon for political and self-empowerment. The spoken word in combination with rhythm creates scintillating potential for speaking truth to power and speaking freedom into existence.
Finally, I'm intrigued by the possibilities of black collective memory to re-imagine our past and ultimately reconstruct a future without marginalization. I am a scholar, mentor, artist, minister and public servant. My penultimate goal is to teach, speak, and write in a way that can be felt.
University of Pittsburgh, Ph.D. - History (Power and Inequality field)
University of Pittsburgh, MA. - U.S. History/Modern African-American studies, 2001
Clark Atlanta University, BA. - Political Science, 1996