Black Studies

M. Ayanda Bam '10

M. Ayanda Bam
I hail from sunny South Africa.  I am in the class of 2010 and am interested in issues concerning both the political evolution and economic development of sub-Saharan Africa.  During my time at Amherst, I have been a member of the Model United Nations Group, Amnesty International, the Black Students Union, the African and Caribbean Students’ Union, Investing Club and the Pride Alliance.  I am majoring in Black Studies because, simply put, the Black Studies Department is undoubtedly the most intellectually rigorous, demanding and rewarding department at Amherst.  Furthermore, I like the major’s multi-disciplinary character which allows me to explore the Diaspora through a myriad of perspectives be it music, philosophy or economics.  I am writing a senior thesis that explores the effect of the Cuban Revolution and Cuba’s intervention in the Angolan War on the African National Congress and the anti-Apartheid struggle.

Andre Gray '10

Andre Gray '10

I'm from San Francisco, California.  I am a member of the Black Students' Union.  My academic interests include urban development, journalism, and social media marketing.  Black Studies is the most comprehensive major at Amherst College.  The core courses impart the fundamental skills that one should get from a liberal arts education, reading, writing, debating and researching.  If it were not for these courses, I would not be as well prepared coming out of Amherst as I am, nor would I be as confident in my skills moving forward.


Maikha Jean-Baptiste '10


I'm from Miami, Florida and I'm currently a senior (yes!).  I decided to major in Black Studies since I liked the fact the major is interdisciplinary.  I'm also pre-med so I'm planning on applying to medical school after taking a year off. On campus I'm currently involved with Girls, Inc.  I'm a former member of the Ballroom team and president of the French House.  I was also instrumental in working with the BSU to plan Carib' fest freshman and sophomore year.


Rachel Hamalainen '11


I’m from a tiny suburb of Detroit, Michigan named Melvindale.  I’m a junior Black Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies double major.  I chose to major in both of these departments because I’m interested in the intersections of race, gender, class, and other identifiers and in identity politics.  I’m a member and former treasurer of La Causa, a member of Global Rights of Women, and a performer in the Vagina Monologues.  I am majoring in Black Studies because it has allowed me to both explore my interest in issues of race and ethnicity and learn how to become a better student and scholar.  I have learned how to improve virtually every aspect of my academic life through this department, and Black Studies has changed my outlook on education for the better.


Sean-Patrick Legister '11


I’m a junior English and Black Studies double major from Ossining, New York.  I’m very interested in Caribbean history, fiction, and creative writing.  I am a member of the football team, in addition to the track and field team.  I am a member of the Friends of Jaclyn Committee and am hoping to become more active in the Amherst community.  I am majoring in Black Studies to enhance my analytical skills through historical, sociological, and legal perspectives. Black Studies has helped me to understand many aspects of life that I used to take for granted.  It has also helped me to understand better how the world works in general.  I am currently undecided about writing a senior thesis, but I am thinking about writing one on something about colonialism and the Caribbean, a subject for which I have a great deal of passion.  


Asia-Sierra Millette '11

Asia-Sierra Millette
I am from Queens, New York.  I am currently a junior double majoring in Black Studies and Sociology.  Since arriving at Amherst, I have been on the planning committee for the annual Five College Relay for Life and have held various executive positions in the Black Students Union.  I didn’t intend to double major when I first got to Amherst but all of the Black Studies courses were so interesting and intellectually stimulating that I decided to add Black Studies as another major.  What I like most about the department is that all the classes require you to challenge yourself and think outside the box.  The Black Studies Department has enhanced my analytical and argumentative skills as well as given me a clearer understanding of the Black Diaspora.

Taylor Alexander Perkins '11

Taylor Alexander Perkins '11

I grew up in the coastal town of Marblehead, Massachusetts, and since sophomore year of high school, I've called the quaint township of Chester, New Jersey home.  I'm currently a junior at Amherst, double majoring in Political Science (with a concentration in Russia and the USSR), and Black Studies.  My younger brother, Blake, is an incoming member of the Amherst class of 2014.  Outside of academics, I run varsity track and field, am the photography editor of the college's yearbook, The Olio, and am a staff writer for the Center for Community Engagement.  I am a Black Studies major because it amalgamates so many disciplines (history, sociology & anthropology, psychology, just to name a few) into a challenging, dynamic, and unique program of study.  I am currently planning a thesis project that will examine the impact of W.E.B. Du Bois' 1959 visit to the Soviet Union on his conception of the American race question and his larger political and intellectual perspective.

Kenneth Sentamu '11E

Kenneth Sentamu '11E
I am a product of two suburbs, one outside of Kampala, Uganda and
another, Sharon, Massachusetts, located south of Boston.  I am a senior,
double-majoring in Black Studies and Political Science, with a
particular interest in political development and social justice in
sub-Saharan Africa.  In addition to my primary focus as a student, I am
a monitor in the Gerald Penny Center, a proud member of In Solidarity
With Immigrants (ISWI), and a somewhat ambivalent member of
Students for Justice in Palestine.  I chose to major in Black Studies in order to
better understand intellectual life in general.  One key aspect of the
major I value most, one certainly noted by many, is its capacity to
encompass and fuse a broad range of perspectives into one.  Is it, as
some claim, "the most intellectually rigorous, demanding and rewarding
department at Amherst?"  I say "YES"!

Cooper House