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Amilcar Shabazz - University of Massachusetts Amherst. Amherst, MA, US

Amilcar Shabazz

Professor of History and Africana Studies, W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies | University of Massachusetts Amherst


Amilcar Shabazz has been a prominent voice in the movement to make reparations to descendants of former enslaved Americans.

Expertise (6)

Reparations for Slavery


African American Educational History and Public Policy

Afro-Americans in the Caribbean, Central and South America

African American Biography



Amilcar Shabazz has been a prominent voice in the movement to make reparations to descendants of former enslaved Americans. As a scholar, his work focuses on the political economy of social and cultural movements, education, and public policy.

His book Advancing Democracy: African Americans and the Struggle for Access and Equity in Higher Education in Texas was the winner of the T.R. Fehrenbach Book Award and other scholarly recognitions.

He was also a major proponent behind making Juneteenth a state holiday in Massachusetts.

Social Media






History of Juneteenth with Prof. Amilcar Shabazz | Connecting Point | Digital Exclusive Reparations for Black Americans: Who Gets What, When and How? (Part 1 with Amilcar Shabazz) Episode 23:  History Bites: Juneteenth feat. Dr. Amilcar Shabazz


Education (3)

University of Houston: Ph.D., History

Lamar University: M.A., History

The University of Texas at Austin: B.A., Economics

Select Media Coverage (7)

Holiday hopes, changing traditions — People share what means the most this holiday season and for 2024

CBS News  online


Amilcar Shabazz, professor of history and Africana studies in the W.E.B. Department of Afro-American Studies, is among those commenting on how they are observing the holiday season and what holidays mean to them. “It's a time to really sift through all of that and look for the truth, look for the truth of our reality, the truth of the problems that beset us,” Shabazz says.

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Slavery reparations in Amherst Massachusetts could include funding for youth programs and housing

AP  online


“The recommendations we’ve made will begin to make this space one that is more inviting, welcoming and hospitable for people of African descent,” said Amilcar Shabazz, a professor in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts, who has written a book on reparations and is a member of the assembly. “I believe this project that we have embarked upon will contribute to the national momentum toward Black reparations, the kind of reparations that will meaningfully change the status of African Americans in this country,” Shabazz said.

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Who should be eligible for reparations? That's the big question in Amherst

GBH  tv


Amilcar Shabazz, University of Massachusetts Amherst professor within the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, is another member of the city’s reparations panel and the architect of the eligibility framework the group is considering. “It’s a sticky discourse,” said Shabazz, who described his approach to reparative justice as an “expansive,” concentric circle-like framework that would prioritize the descendants of those enslaved in the U.S.

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Activists split over whether reparations should go to Black immigrants

The Washington Post  print


Amilcar Shabazz, professor of history and Africana Studies in the W. E. B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, is quoted in an article on the quest for reparations in Amherst and elsewhere.“One of the things that actually unites all African people is the right to reparation, because we were all damaged by this transatlantic slave trade and this experience of slavery,” Shabazz says.

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How W.E.B. Du Bois legacy continues to live on in his birthplace of western Massachusetts

WWLP  online


“Dr. DuBois was a genius, he’s someone that many of us in the academy can aspire to want to emulate, said Dr. Amilcar Shabazz. “He was truly what we call a scholar-activist and by that I mean he saw problems in the world, injustices in the world and put so much of his gifts into trying to solve those problems.”

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Black American Heritage flag-raising ceremony in Springfield

WWLP  online


Dr. Amilcar Shabazz, a distinguished UMass Professor of Afro-American Studies, was named this year’s honoree. He was acutely aware of the simultaneous struggle and celebration of Black History Month. “Slavery projected people of African descent as less than human beings and therefore not part of human history. So with Juneteenth and the end of shadow slavery, we have started a march of restoring the dignity of human beings of African descent,” said Shabazz.

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Righting past wrongs

Valley Advocate  online


“Just 17 years before I was born, my family were victims of a race riot,” said Shabazz, an Amherst resident and a professor of history and Africana studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The riot in Shabazz’s hometown of Beaumont was on a scale of the Tulsa Race Massacre, Shabazz said. The Tulsa Race Massacre occurred in 1921, when a white mob descended on the Black section of the Oklahoma city and burned more than 1,000 homes and destroyed a thriving business district known as “Black Wall Street.”

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Select Publications (1)

Advancing Democracy: African Americans and the Struggle for Access and Equity in Higher Education in Texas

Book – The University of North Carolina Press

Amilcar Shabazz


As we approach the fiftieth anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education (1954), it is important to consider the historical struggles that led to this groundbreaking decision. Four years earlier in Texas, the Sweatt v. Painter decision allowed blacks access to the University of Texas's law school for the first time. Amilcar Shabazz shows that the development of black higher education in Texas--which has historically had one of the largest state college and university systems in the South--played a pivotal role in the challenge to Jim Crow education.

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