Travis Williams

Giving Voice: A Qualitative Study of African American Alumni, Alumnae, and Current Student Racial Perceptions at Marshall University

Travis Williams of Dunbar, West Virginia has been named a Student Affiliate of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Gender in Appalachia. He earned his B.A. in sociology at West Virginia State College and is currently working toward his M.A. in sociology at Marshall University.

The title of Mr. Williams’s project is Giving Voice: A Qualitative Study of African American Alumni, Alumnae, and Current Student Racial Perceptions at Marshall University. Mr. Williams has conducted interviews with African American students and alumni of Marshall University to examine how African American students have coped with the challenges of attending a predominantly white, Appalachian university over the past thirty years. He uses this qualitative data within the framework of standpoint theory to critically examine the social structures that contribute to the social and mental separation of African American students from white students, the decline in black solidarity over the years, and other challenges faced by past and current African American students at Marshall University.

Mr. Williams has presented his research at the 1998 West Virginia Sociological Association/Political Science Association Annual Conference. He also presented Examining Racial Perceptions of Students at Marshall University at the 1999 Appalachian Studies Association Conference in Abingdon, Virginia.