I am a freelance and academic writer who has written on the topics of multiculturalism, education reform, race and African American/American identity for more than fifteen years. I have published articles in The Atlantic, Al Jazeera English, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, Gannett Suburban Newspapers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, History of Education Quarterly, The Washington Post, Teachers College Record, Academe Magazine, Radical Society and the Journal of Hispanic Higher Education. My publications include narrative profiles and stories, op-eds, book reviews, scholarly articles and feature articles, review entries and book chapters.
Boy @ The Window is my memoir that covers my years growing up in poverty and abuse in Mount Vernon, New York (suburban New York City) during the 1980s. It’s a story about the universal search for understanding on how any one of us becomes the person they are despite—or because of—the odds intertwined with my own search for redemption, trust, love, success—for a life worth living. It’s a personal dialogue along with interviews of those who were in my life more than two decades ago. It’s an intellectual and emotional journey that is about our deepest fears and most cherished dreams as much as it is about me and the people I grew up around. Boy @ The Window is about one of the most important lessons of all: what it takes to overcome inhumanity in order to become whole and human again.
I am also the author of Fear of a “Black” America: Multiculturalism and the African American Experience (iUniverse.com, 2004), an in-depth response to the conservative movement’s “Culture Wars” on all things “multicultural.” The book is a combination of his personal vignettes with interviews and historical research to create a semi-scholarly, semi-narrative nonfiction story of African Americans and other groups of color coming to grips with their notions of multiculturalism in education and in their everyday lives.
Outside of my work as a writer, I’ve worked in academia and in the nonprofit world for more than a decade. I currently serve as a non-tenured Associate Professor with University of Maryland University College and have taught as an adjunct professor of African American History and American Education at Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, George Washington University, the University of the District of Columbia and Howard University. I also have been a consultant with Educational Testing Service, American Institutes for Research and the Junior Statesmen Foundation.
For more than four years I served as the Deputy Director of College Access and Success Initiatives with the Center for School and Community Services at Academy for Educational Development (AED – now FHI 360) in Washington, DC and New York City. I previously served as Assistant Director of the New Voices Fellowship Program at AED, a program for emerging leaders in the social justice field.
I have a Ph.D. in History from Carnegie Mellon University, and a B.A. and M.A. in History from the University of Pittsburgh. I live in Silver Spring, Maryland with my wife and my fourteen-year old son.
If you would like to contact me for a book talk, book signing, panel presentation or other speaking engagement, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can also be reached via Twitter at @decollins1969. I can speak as both a historian and writer on K-16 education issues (particularly educational equity and pathways to college and graduate school, not to mention, the false notion of education as a meritocracy), American and African American identity, American narcissism, and of course, multiculturalism and White supremacy. As for engagements focusing on Boy @ The Window, I can touch on one or more of the following issues:
- what it actually takes to successfully navigate K-12 education as a young and poor Black male, as well as the costs in doing so;
- the psychological and social aspects of attending a gifted/talented track program, and in ways in which this does and does not prepare students for selective colleges and universities;
- the path to college, and the psychological and emotional skills needed to be a successful college student (regardless of age);
- coping strategies for overcoming child abuse and domestic violence while growing up in such a household;
- the best (and sometimes worst) practices for dealing with issues of Black authenticity and Black perceptions of masculinity, all while confronting one’s own thinking on Blackness and masculinity; and
- understanding the role of a family’s religious and cultural beliefs (in my case, being a Hebrew-Israelite for three years and a heightened distrust of Whites and authority figures) in our lives and overcoming them on the path to finding God and/or our own sense of the world.
My blog (including my videos, other writings and blog topics) should provide a good sense of what to expect from me.