Not long after she returned to Howard University as a professor in 2013, Jennifer Thomas found herself overcome with emotion. Tears formed in her eyes as the school song blared from the clock tower on the Washington, D.C., campus.
Thomas called it a “full circle” moment. She spent 25 years as an award-winning local and national television producer, almost always the lone Black woman in her position. But there she was, back on The Yard, as a journalism professor, and the juxtaposition of college years and new career side by side was poignant.
“The reality of teaching students who walked those same paths I walked was very surreal,” she said. “I’m even teaching out of the same classrooms I sat in as a student. And some of my professors are now my colleagues. It’s all been the most overwhelming thing.”
The matter of Black college professors — and tenure — came to the fore this spring when Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones’ tenure at the University of North Carolina’s school of journalism was controversially delayed.
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