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Department of African American Studies

2019-2020 Grace Jordan McFadden recipient

Maya Morris named 2019-2020 Grace Jordan McFadden recipient

Congratulations to AFAM Studies 2019-2020 Grace Jordan McFadden winner Maya Morris. Morris was named the recipient of the highly regarded and coveted award at this year’s September 19 Robert Smalls Program.

Morris is a junior, majoring in sociology, and minoring in African American Studies. Her goal as an AFAM minor is to use the knowledge acquired in her classes as a catalyst for helping students like her, find their voices on campus.

She is active in many campus organizations, including serving as a guide during student orientation, member of SAVVY, the National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Ronald McNair Program. Morris is the AFAM Studies intern for the Central Carolina Community Foundation.

Morris was nominated for the McFadden Award by Jason Cummings, AFAM Studies assistant professor and her mentor. They were matched in the summer McNair Intern Program. 

Cummings said, “Sparked by interests in the phenomena of viral videos of African-Americans being profiled and harassed by white civilians in majority white spaces (think #BBQ Becky #cornerstonecaroline), Ms. Morris learned quantitative content analysis with graduate level texts, coded twenty videos, and brilliantly analyzed the videos in an intensive six-weeks. In her paper, Ms. Morris correctly identified that 80 per cent of the civilian perpetrators of racial harassment of African Americans in public spaces were actually white women – and these women called the police 75 per cent of the time, even when there was no real evidence of wrongdoing. For her excellence in research, this student was awarded the McNair Program’s Extra Mile Award.”

After winning the award, Morris said, “I never had the pleasure to meet Dr. Grace McFadden --- she was before my time. But based on the stories I’ve heard and read --- I gather that she was a trailblazer and a gem to our state and on our campus.” 

Morris’ career goal is to become a lawyer and specialize in criminal justice.



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