Saturday, July 01, 2006

Beyond FORTITUDE: Kerry Ann Rockquermore, Ph.D.

I try to reserve “Beyond FORTITUDE” posts for people who impress beyond belief. Kerry Ann Rockquemore, Associate Professor of African American Studies and Sociology at the University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC), is one such person. Co-author most recently of Raising Biracial Children, Kerry Ann Rockquemore teaches, speaks, and writes books, articles, and book chapters on multiracial identity, interracial dating, and race and racism in America.

The daughter of an African American father and white mother, she is also Founding Director of the Underrepresented Faculty Mentoring Program at UIC and is actively involved in the Chicago Interracial Research Consortium (CIRC). Through the CIRC, UIC faculty and graduate students conduct research in the Chicago metro area on interracial families, trans-racial adoption, and multiracial identity and then provide their findings to social service agencies, media, and policy makers.

Professor Rockquemore is making a difference for people of mixed-race heritage through her important work. Not only does she influence the many students who take her courses at UIC, she reaches out to the entire academic community through her writings and presentations, contributes to regional programs that affect mixed-race families, and helps those of us outside academic circles understand her life work through books like Raising Biracial Children and Beyond Black: Biracial Identity in America.

I have a good friend who received her doctorate degree at a young age, and I’ve seen the effort it takes not only to accomplish that tremendous feat but to build up an impressive academic resumé within a matter of years. I also understand the drive it takes for someone to devote herself to a cause she knows deep down is important. Kerry Ann Rockquemore is obviously devoted to raising awareness about interracial issues.

If you’re interested in communicating with Professor Rockquemore about your experiences with racial identity, check out her site heading “Halfbreed Nation” for information on how you can contribute your story to her ongoing research efforts.


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