Institute on Black Life Colloquium

By Barbara Melendez


TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 11, 2010) – “It’s an ongoing conversation open to all,”  said Cheryl Rodriguez,director of the University of South Florida Institute on Black Life,referring to the series of events that make up this year’s IBL Colloquium. Topics range from access to healthy food, to disparities in Tampa Bay’s Haitian community, entrepreneurship among the area’s black women, what it means to be a black male feminist and Ybor City’s Sociedad La Union Marti-Maceo and Circulo Cubano.


The series opened with a lecture by Melvin James that focused on his new book, God Bless America. To a standing-room-only crowd, he presented his views on America’s blessings through the ways truth, justice and compassion intersect daily life. He discussed a chapter from his book, titled “Who is an American," in which people with varied backgrounds question how they are viewed by society. He also used the occasion to wrap the current crisis in Haiti into his analysis of inequities in education, poverty, internalized myths, democracy and power politics.


“The presentation was very timely in that it emphasized global connections and global responsibilities, particularly in the context of Haiti’s current crisis,” Rodriguez said. “In comments directed to the students in the audience, Dr. James vehemently encouraged the students to think of themselves as the leaders of a globalized future.”


“Each topic is fascinating and guaranteed to provoke further conversations,” she added. “The Institute on Black Life welcomes all students from the USF community as well as members of our larger Tampa Bay community.”


All lectures take place in the Faculty Office Building FAO Room 296. For the full schedule visit And for more information contact:  Clara Cobb at (813) 974-9387 or




The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of only 25 public research universities nationwide with very high research activity that is designated as community engaged by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  USF was awarded $380.4 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2008/2009. The university offers 232 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The USF System has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 47,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.