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Birthday card to Beyoncé from the Beyoncé Nation class at Cornell posted on Twitter on September 4, 2017

Katherine Regan and Ben Ortiz repositing the 13-page syllabus booklet for the Beyoncé Nation course in the Hip Hop Collection at Cornell Library

"I had the pleasure this morning of giving a lecture to the "Beyoncé Nation" class, a new course offered this semester via the #Cornell #Africana Studies and Research Center (@AfricanaCU), taught by the amazing Dr. Riché Richardson (@twindynasty)! We discussed #HipHop #history#culture, preserving it through the #artifacts in the @CornellHipHop

Collection, and also assessed how it has influenced Beyoncé's career. Deeeep discussion, seriously sharp students."
#Beyonce #music #popculture #academia #bey #queenbey #beyhive 

-Ben Ortiz, Assistant Curator of the Cornell Hip Hop Collection, after meeting with the Beyoncé Nation students on November 30, 2017 

List of 67 Topics on which students produced ten-page research papers in the Beyoncé Nation course

Three Special Issues Outlined for publication in undergraduate student journal

The Willard Straight Occupation and the Legacy of Black Students, 2017, 2018

 The Beyoncé course in the News:

2017     Interview.  “Pop Culture in the College Classroom.”  By Nicole Poitras.  Emerson College.  WERS  Soundcloud.  October 2017

2017 The Beyoncé Course Formation at Cornell" by Donna Pinnisi.  November 7, 2017


2017  "How Does Beyoncé ‘Run the World,’ Students Answer After Semester of Study" by Maryam Zafar.  The Cornell Daily Sun.  November 30, 2017

2018     Amina Kilpatrick.  “Beyoncé’s Father Recalls Hiding from a Ku Klux Klan Rally As a Child at Cornell Lecture.”  The Cornell Daily Sun.  September 28, 2018 

2018     Samantha Stern.  “Beyoncé’s Father and Top Music Industry Leader Mathew Knowles to Speak at Cornell Panel.”  The Cornell Daily Sun.  September 18, 2018
2018   Linda Glaser.  “Top Music Industry Expert Speaks.” Cornell Chronicle.  September 13, 2018
2018     Josie Rubio.  “14 Fun College Classes You Wish You Could Take.”  September 13, 2018
2020     L.P. Drew.  “Common Threads:  Professor, author, and textile artist Riché Richardson explores the African American experience.”  Cornell Alumni Magazine.  July/August 2020

Historian Carol Kammen, author of Part and Apart;  The Black Experience at Cornell1865-1945,discussing the book with the Willard Straight course students in 2017

Highlights from the panel and screening of Agents of Change on which the students in the Willard Straight course collaborated with Africana librarian Eric Acree on the anniversary of the Occupation in 2017.  The event was well attended and drew a packed house on a stormy night.  

Riché Richardson interview with Willard Straight course student Traciann Celestin and film co-director Abby Ginzberg post-screening.  Agents of Change.  Cornell Cinema.  May 4, 2019

Willard Straight Occupation Students in the Spring 2017 class included Amber Aspinall, Traciann Celestin, Janeil Dennis, Samantha Kreda, Jennifer Mandelblatt, Monica Moore, Joseph Nelzy, and Dominique Thorne, whose collective and individual projects produced in the pilot course set the bar high and established strong foundations.  Here are some of their reflections on the experience: 


 “I’m so excited to hear that you will be teaching the course again.  It was truly one of the best classes I have ever taken and Cornell is so lucky to have a scholar like you dedicated to this important piece of history.” 


Amber Aspinall


“Thank you for a wonderful semester, I truly enjoyed learning and growing with everyone throughout the course.” 


Janeil Dennis


“I have truly enjoyed this class and I am so grateful to have taken it while still a fairly new member of Wari.  I feel far more confident standing as a member of this house having taken this class, read the books I’ve read, and taken part in the conversations that followed.  For me, this has been an educational experience that surpassed academic learning.  This was an education that I will carry with me in my attempt to become a more productive member of Wari, the Cornell Community and society at large.  Thank you for a wonderful semester and have a  great summer!”


Dominique Thorne


“I am very excited to be enrolled in your course on the Willard Straight Takeover!”


Traciann Celestin


“My parents absolutely loved Agents of Change-they finally got to hear what I have been talking about all semester.”


Jennifer Mandeleblatt


“I learned so much about the power of movements and the impact that the Willard Straight Takeover had on this campus.  Though racism and discrimination against black students did not cease immediately, change was definitely occurring.  It is incredible to me that I am only really learning about these incredible student movements as a senior, but I hope that more people will be able to take this course over the next few years and that black student voices are recognized and respected so that this era of continued violence and discrimination can end.”


Samantha Kreda

Agents of Change co-director Frank Dawson interviewing Harry Edwards during the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Willard Straight Occupation in April of 2019

Archive of the Willard Straight Student Course Projects from 2017 and 2018

The Willard Straight Course in the News:  

2019  “What Teaching about the Straight Occupation Has Taught Me and What It Can Teach Everyone.”  Ezra:  Cornell’s Quarterly Magazine.  Spring, 2019


2019  Hunter Seitz.  "Africana Studies Professor Offers Class about Takeover."  The Cornell Daily Sun.  April 18, 2019  

2019     Vivien Fan.  “Cornell To Honor 50th Anniversary of Willard Straight Hall Takeover With Keynote Event and Commemorative Walk.”  The Cornell Daily Sun.  April 16, 2019