Skip navigation

Black Studies


Page Content

The Center for Black Studies strives for excellence in research and teaching. Faculty affiliates have numerous publications in civil rights history, race in media, southern cultural studies, Black musical traditions, educational inequality, Jim Crow politics, gender studies, and African American literary studies. Affiliates develop popular courses based on their interdisciplinary research that attract students to the Black Studies minor.

Faculty Affiliates      Staff      Alumni    

Faculty Affiliates 

Leslie Anderson

Leslie A. Anderson, Ph.D.

  • Area of Expertise: Couple/marriage and family therapy; culturally responsive therapy practices; processes of racial socialization in Black American families; qualitative research methodologies


Meet Leslie A. Anderson

Leslie A. Anderson, Ph.D., LMFT is a Family Scientist, Family Therapist, and Assistant Professor of Child and Family Sciences at The University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. Anderson earned her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Science with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Georgia. Her research broadly focuses on Black American familial processes and specifically, their processes of racial socialization. Her scholarship is rooted in a commitment to social justice and undergirded by Critical Race Theory. In her clinical work, she is intentional about practicing as a culturally responsive practitioner with underrepresented and underserved groups. She has 10+ years of experience providing community and home-based behavioral health services to impoverished and rural families in MS and GA.

Andrew Gutkowski

Andrew Gutkowski, Ph.D.

  • Area of Expertise: Environmental Justice, African American History, U.S. South


Meet Andrew Gutkowski 

Gutkowski is an Assistant Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, where he teaches courses in Environmental Justice, Social Advocacy, and Black Studies. He has a Ph.D. in History from the University of South Carolina (2020) with concentrations in Modern U.S., African American, and Environmental History. His current book project explores how post-war struggles over civil rights and industrial pollution in the U.S. South shaped the uneven distribution of environmental hazards – toxic waste facilities, Superfund sites, brownfields – that defines much of the region’s industrial landscape today. His research has recently been published in The Journal of American History.


Photo of Valencia Walls


Being an affiliated staff with the Center for Black Studies will help to not only improve the services our office provides, but also offer the opportunity for collaborations on topics of mutual interest.Valencia Walls

Meet Valencia Walls

A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Walls holds a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Master of Education, both from USM.  She has worked in student development for almost 20 years. Her career honors include the Outstanding Staff Award from the USM Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life; Outstanding Service Award from the Hattiesburg National Pan- Hellenic Council; Advisor of the Year Award by the USM Office of Leadership and Student Involvement; 2011 Greek Hall of Fame Inductee; Outstanding Service Award from the Southern Miss Alumni Association, and the John Hope Franklin Award from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc- Mu Gamma Lambda Chapter. She is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.



Hard-work never fails

Abrapudi Sruthi Shanmukhi ' 23

Meet Abrapudi Sruthi Shanmukhi

Abrapudi Sruthi Shanmukhi, MPH, BDS is the first official Graduate Assistant in the Center for Black Studies. She has a Master's Degree in Public Health majoring in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Bachelor's degree in Dentistry from Mamata Dental College. She worked as an Intern in the Mississippi INBRE on Vaccine Hesitancy Project for which she received a 2nd place for Poster Presentation in the 85th MPHA Annual Public Health Conference with her co-intern. Her research on the Assessment of Knowledge, Attitude and Practices towards Covid-19 in Health-care students which was a Cross-Sectional Study was published in 2021. Her future research goal is to work on Association between Migraine and Trigeminal Neuralgia. She participates actively in all campus events.  


klaria holmes

Klaria Holmes 

  • Major: Psychology
  • Minor: Black Studies
  • Hometown: Oxford, MS
  • Current Position: USM Graduating Senior ‘23


Photo of Mario Marset


Mario Marset, '20

• Major:  Sociology
• Hometown: Sevilla, Spain
• Currently: Pursuing an M.Sc. in International Migration and Public Policy at the London School of Economics


Perceptions of Race and Ethnicity in Immigration

For Mario Marset, ’20, Black Studies emphasized the importance of exploring the ways in which perception of race and ethnicity may be determinants for outcome differences for immigrants, including asylum seekers and other displaced communities. 

Read Mario's Q&A

Alyssa Bass Photo

Alyssa Bass, ’20  

• Major: News-Editorial Journalism 
• Hometown: Monroe, Louisiana
• Current Position: Product Engagement Coordinator, Mississippi Today; former intern at PBS FRONTLINE


Journalist Alumna Takes on History to Tell Stories of Black People 

For Alyssa Bass, ’20, Black Studies emphasized the importance of learning history, framing Black people as change agents, and recognizing everyone in the African Diaspora.

Read Alyssa's Q&A


Jonathan Puckett Photo

Jonathan Puckett, ’20  

• Major / Minor: English, History / Black Studies
• Graduation Date: Spring 2020
• Current Education: Pursuing a Master’s in Library Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
• Current Position: Graduate assistant in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library


Aspiring Archivist Chooses Minor to Bring Unheard Narratives to the Forefront

Jonathan Puckett, ’20, was writing his Honors thesis on the literature of Pauline Hopkins, an African American writer and activist-intellectual from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Naturally, the Black Studies minor enhanced his thesis by grounding it in existing scholarly discussions.

Read Jonathan's Q&A



Contact Us

Center for Black Studies

118 College Dr. Box #5037
Hattiesburg, MS 39406


Campus Map