Sundiata Keita Cha-Jua is an Associate Professor in the Department of History, from which he earned a Ph.D. in 1993, and in African American Studies. He previously taught in the History department and directed the Black Studies Program at the University of Missouri at Columbia, and was the first faculty member hired in the new Department of African American Studies at Pennsylvania State University (1994) and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Dr. Cha-Jua received Advanced Certificates in Black Studies from Northeastern University in 1992 and from the National Council for Black Studies, Director’s Institute in 1992.
Dr. Cha-Jua's research agenda consists of explorations of Black racial formations, Urban histories/community studies, Radical Black Intellectual Traditions, and culturally relevant pedagogical practices. He is specifically interested in investigating African American community formation, lynching, historical materialism, African American historiography, social movement theory, and Black social movements.
He is the author of America's First Black Town, Brooklyn, Illinois, 1830-1915 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000), the monograph, Sankofa: Racial Formation and Transformation, Toward a Theory of African American History(Washington State University, 2000), and co-edited Race Struggles (University of Illinois Press, 2009) with Theodore Koditschek and Helen Neville. He has published dozens of articles in leading journals, including The Black Scholar, Journal of African American History, Journal of American History, Journal of Urban History, New Politics and Souls. He coauthored, “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 2009 OAH EBSCOhost America: History and Life Award for the best journal article in United States History, 2007-2009.
He recently finished with Mary Frances Berry and V.P. Franklin, Reparations and Reparatory Justice, Past, Present and Future (Under review at University of Illinois Press) and Ebb and Flow: Racial Formation and Transformation in the Making of African American History.
Cha-Jua has been President of the National Council for Black Studies (201-2012, 2012-2014) and is a member of the Executive Council of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. He has served as Senior Editor of The Black Scholar (2011-2015), Associate Editor of the Journal of African American History (2015-2018) and a Contributing Editor onThe Black Scholar (2005-2012) and the Journal of Black Studies (2004-2015) and on the Editorial Board of the Journal of African American Studies (2006-2014). Cha-Jua is a Life member of the National Council for Black Studies and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.
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.
Since September 2015, Cha-Jua has written a biweekly Op-Ed commentary, “RealTalk: A Black Perspective” for the News Gazette of Champaign, Illinois.
He 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 American: History and Life Award for the Best Article in United States History 2007-2009.
• Fellowship, Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois, 2010-2011
• Outstanding Faculty Award, Black Graduate & Professional Student Association, University of Illinois, 2007-08
• Organization of American Historians, OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program, 2010-2013
Additional Campus Affiliations
Associate Professor, African American Studies
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