Sundiata Keita Cha-Jua teaches in the departments of African American Studies and History at the University of Illinois.
He authored America’s First Black Town, Brooklyn, Illinois, 1830-1915; Sankofa: Racial Formation and Transformation, Toward a Theory of African American History and co-edited Race Struggles with Theodore Koditschek and Helen Neville. He has published scores of articles in leading journals, including “The Long Movement’ as Vampire: Temporal and Spatial Fallacies in Recent Black Freedom Studies” in the Journal of African American History which co-won the OAH EBSCOhost America: History and Life Award for the best journal article in United States History, 2007-2009.
Cha-Jua has been President of the National Council for Black Studies (201-2012, 2012-2014), Senior Editor of The Black Scholar (2011-2015) and Associate Editor of the Journal of African American History (2015-2018).
Since September 2015, he has written a biweekly Op-Ed commentary, “RealTalk: A Black Perspective” for the News Gazette of Champaign, Illinois.
Dr. Cha-Jua is a founding scholar/trainer of the Policing in a Multiracial Society Program (PSMP). Started in 2012, PSMP provides systematic anti-racial bias education and training for police recruits attending the University of Illinois’s Police Training Institute (PTI) and researches the racial attitudes of police and the effectiveness of anti-racist training.
Cha-Jua has been engaged with local and national Black liberation movement organizations since his teen years. He has been a member of the executive board of the St. Louis-based Organization for Black Struggle (OBS), a member of the National Council of the Black Radical Congress (BRC) and is an organizer for the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM).
Dr. Cha-Jua's research agenda consists of explorations of Black racial formation, Urban histories/community studies, Radical Black Intellectual Traditions, and culturally relevant pedagogical practices. He is specifically interested in investigating and theorizing African American community formation, lynching, historical materialism, African American historiography, social movement theory, and Black social movements.
History, Ph.D., History
Political Studies, M.A., University of Illinois at Springfield
Political Science, B.A., Tougaloo College
Awards and Honors
- The Frederick Douglass Distinguished African American Citizenship Award, Ruby Cook, Mayor of Brooklyn, Illinois, July 8, 2000.
- Superior Scholarship Award, Illinois State Historical Society, for America’s First Black Town, 2001
- Center for Democracy in a Multiracial Society, University of Illinois, Fellowship, 2004-05
- William Bradley Scholar Award, The Counseling Psychology Program at Temple University, 2004
- Visiting Scholar, Barstow Excellence in Teaching in Humanities Seminar at Saginaw Valley State University, Saginaw, Michigan, February 9-10, 2006
- Co-winner of the 2009 OAH EBSCOhost America: History and Life Award
- Fellowship, Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois, 2010-11
- Organization of American Historians, OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program, 2010-2011
- Panelist/Reviewer for American Studies Panel, NEH Summer Stipends program, Fall 2010
- Nancy Schaenen Endowed Visiting Scholar at the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics, De Pauw University, February 4-8, 2013.
- List of UIUC Teachers Rated Excellent By Their Students, Fall 2006, AFRO 490; Fall 2008, AFRO 101; Spring 2010, HIST 575; Fall 2013, AFRO 101; Spring 2014, HIST 300 & HIST 575; Fall 2014, AFRO 474; Spring 2015, HIST 300 & HIST 575; Spring 2016, AFRO 474/HIST 478; Spring 2017, AFRO 474/HIST 478; Fall 2018, AFRO 474/HIST 478.
Additional Campus Affiliations
Associate Professor, History
Cha-Jua, S. (2019). “James B. Stewart, W. E. B. Du Bois, and the Struggle to Build a Liberatory Transdiscipline.”. International Journal of Africana Studies, 20(2), 87. .
Cha-Jua, S., & Augustus Wood III (2018). “Floyd McKissick,”. In A. Umoja, K. Standford, & J. Young (Eds.), Black Power Encyclopedia: : From "Black is Beautiful" to Urban Uprisings" (J-Z ed., Vol. 2, pp. 509-519). ABC-CLIO.
Cha-Jua, S., & Augustus Wood III (2018). “Urban Rebellions.”. In A. Umoja, K. Standford, & J. Young (Eds.), Black Power Encyclopedia: From "Black is Beautiful" to Urban Uprisings" (A-I ed., Vol. 1, pp. cix-cxxiv). ABC-CLIO.
Wood, A., & Cha-Jua, S. (2018). “Black Marxism”. In A. Umoja, K. Standford, & J. Young (Eds.), Black Power Encyclopedia: From "Black is Beautiful" to Urban Uprisings" (A-I ed., Vol. I, pp. 509). ABC-CLIO.
Cha-Jua, S. (2017). Introduction: The Scholarship and Social and Educational Activism of V. P. Franklin. Journal of African American History, 102(3), 289-292. https://doi.org/10.5323/jafriamerhist.102.3.0289