By: Bill Wellock | Published: | 4:37 pm | SHARE: Share on FacebookTweet

The daring raids of Harriet Tubman, the activism of Martin Luther King Jr., the presidency of Barack Obama and more are all essential parts of the history of the United States. Every February, Black History Month celebrates the many accomplishments of black Americans.

It’s also a time to consider how race affects the issues the country still faces today. Black History Month is an annual event that began as a week-long commemoration of black Americans’ achievements in the 1920s and continues to evolve today.

Florida State University professors are available to comment on a variety of topics for coverage of Black History Month and beyond.

Buggs’ research includes race, gender, intimacy (romantic/sexual relationships, online dating, family), racial identity and community and representation of race and gender in popular culture. She specializes in interracial relationships, multiracial people/identity and families and black popular culture.

“Black History Month is always an important time to reflect not only on how far U.S. society has come over the past several hundred years but also what issues we — as black people and residents of the U.S. more broadly — still face today. Given that I study people’s intimate lives and media, particularly spaces like social media and film, it isn’t always immediately clear why those relationships and interactions matter. Black History Month provides an occasion for people to consider these topics in more detail, especially how we can use the internet and the people we choose to share our lives with to make incremental positive change (or potentially do more damage to the world). I always look forward to these conversations with my students whether it is February or not and look forward to seeing what will come from mainstream discussions of race in the beginning of 2020 — an important election year and a year that brims over with the promise of a new decade.


Davis’ research interests include low-skilled black workers, environmental injustice, urban inequalities and the social determinants of health. She is currently completing a book-length manuscript on the recovery from the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

“I specialize in research that examines the employment and ecological conditions in poor, predominately African American communities. I have published articles and a book on the nature of employment opportunities available to high school educated African American women. My research explores the institutional constraints to job security and mobility as well as the structural circumstances that undermine lead remediation efforts, particularly, in poor communities of color. In my work, I address how the intersections between race, gender and class shape social outcomes.”


Houck is the Fannie Lou Hamer Professor of Rhetorical Studies in the College of Communication and Information. He studies political advertising, speech-making and news coverage and is an expert on the American civil rights movement, war rhetoric, propaganda and media campaigns.

Houck is one of the nation’s leading experts on Emmett Till, whose 1955 murder in the Mississippi Delta helped launch the civil rights movement. He helped create the Emmett Till Memory Project, which developed a 21st-century digital historical record of the people, places and episodes associated with Till’s murder and legacy.

“I’m happy to talk with media about events connected primarily to the American civil rights movement, the history of lynching in our country, Emmett Till and contemporary issues circulating around race — whether inflected by sports, protest, politics or entertainment.”


Martinez received her doctorate in African American history, specializing in racial violence and lynching in the early 20th century. She primarily researches the history of racial violence and racial inequality in the U.S. and its legacies. Her current work focuses on racial violence and historical memory in north Florida in the 1920s.

“It is important for us to honestly confront the realities of racial violence in American history. Remembering those who were beaten, tortured and killed allows us to reflect upon both the immediate and long-term effects of institutional racism. We must face these atrocities to examine how we may move forward without erasing the pain of those communities who suffered and who continue to suffer.”


Mason’s primary areas of interest include labor, political economy, development, education, social identity and crime. He is particularly interested in racial inequality in the U.S., Caribbean and Mexico, income distribution, racial profiling and connections between the family environment and socioeconomic well-being.

“My research and teaching interests have focused on the nature, extent and persistence of economic exploitation and racism in various dimensions of society. Accordingly, I also have a strong interest in public policies and institutions that are consistent with increasing social justice.”


Noel’s research interests include the intersectionality of race/ethnicity and trauma and effects on academic outcomes and classroom dynamics. Her work focuses on training teachers and school personnel about the impact of traumatic stress on learning, how to intervene with trauma-affected youth in their schools and how to avoid revictimization. She studies the impact that trauma training has on changes in school climate, disciplinary practices, engagement with trauma-affected students and the academic outcomes of students of color. She also is currently working on a meta-analysis of school-based interventions to address symptoms of traumatic stress among children ages 5 to 11.

“Common traumatic stress reactions reflecting historical and racial trauma include increased vigilance and suspicion, heightened sensitivity to threat, a sense of a foreshortened future and more maladaptive responses to stress such as aggression or substance misuse, as well as impacts on abilities to learn and retain new information. This is of particular importance for children of color attending school. Early exposure to trauma and ongoing traumatic stress in the form of microaggressions and macroaggressions in the environments in which children of color function daily affect the developing brain, particularly in those areas involved in emotional regulation and learning. To suppose that children can experience traumatic stress in their everyday life and then expect that without intervention they will achieve or function well in the classroom is very shortsighted.”