Keynote Speaker

Erykah Badu & Big Boi – The Healer

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While working on this Summit, this song has been key to keeping me focused. This song speaks to my Soul and communicates my love for Hip-Hop Culture… Let this song inspire you as much as it has inspired me… Peace

– Natisha Jordan (Founding President and Program Coordinator – ClassAction Student Group)

Lehman College Alumni Association

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The Lehman College Office of Alumni Relations welcomes you, our alumni, to remain connected with us and to help us establish networks mutually beneficial to our 65,000 + alumni, the Lehman College community and its future alumni. We invite you to participate in alumni as well as college events and activities. Visit the Events page for information. We hope you will return to the beautiful Lehman campus often and take advantage of the services and programs available to you with a validated Alumni I.D. See the Benefits and Services page for more information about what is available to you.

Obtaining/Validating your Lehman College Alumni ID

All Lehman College Graduates become members of the Lehman College Alumni Association automatically upon graduation. As an alumnus/a, you can take advantage of several on-campus services with a valid Lehman College Alumni I.D. The Lehman College Alumni I.D. Validation/Benefits & Services fee is $25.00/year (from September to August). For new graduates, the fee is waived for the first year. Please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 718-960-6918 or for more information about how to obtain your Alumni I.D. If you already have an alumni I.D. and need to validate it, you can also pay online.

Alumni on Social Media

The Lehman College Alumni social media initiative is meant to facilitate the development of these networks for our current and future Lehman College Alumni and provide forums for discussion, networking, sharing of information, events and activities invitations, exchanging of ideas, mentoring, getting back in touch.  Please join the Lehman College Alumni Facebook page and LinkedIn group and help develop a supportive, informative and enriching online community among our diverse alumni population.

The Blogs @ Lehman provides opportunities for alumni to share their stories about their Lehman College experience: the programs and student organizations that shaped their future, the professors and mentors who touched their lives, the friendships, the memories and any special connections to their alma mater. Please share your alumni stories to help tell the overall Lehman College story in a unique, inspiring blend of voices and experiences.

Office of Alumni Relations
Shuster Hall, Room 301
fax: 718-960-8977

Department of African & African American Studies

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The Department of African and African American Studies is in the School of Arts and Humanities with such departments as History, Music, Latin American and Puerto Rican Studies, English, and Philosophy. Courses taken in African and African American studies can fulfill the College’s distribution requirement in historical studies, comparative culture, the arts and literature. Students can take courses in African and African American studies for elective credits. Students may also elect to major or minor in African and African American studies.

African and African American Studies is a body of knowledge that records, describes, and analyzes the experience of Black people in all parts of the world, but especially in America, the Caribbean and Africa. African and African American Studies appraises the past, examines the present, and seeks to shape the future. The African and African American Studies Department offers an interdisciplinary major leading to a B.A. degree. The courses are grouped into five sequences: African-American, community and urban, Afro-Caribbean, African, and arts and languages. The Department also participates in the interdisciplinary programs in Latin American and Caribbean studies and women’s studies.


Mark Christian received his B.A. (Hons.) in Sociology & American Studies from Liverpool Hope University, his M.A. in African & African American Studies from The Ohio State University, and his Ph.D. in Sociology from The University of Sheffield, England. He is a senior Fulbright scholar recipient, a former research fellow at the University of London’s Institute of Commonwealth Studies, and is currently a visiting fellow at the Department of Sociology, The University of Liverpool. He arrives at Lehman after spending eleven years at Miami University of Ohio, where he taught courses in African Diaspora Studies with a comparative analysis of the UK and US; and courses in sociology, such as social stratification and race and ethnic relations. His research interests primarily stem from a historical/cultural lens taking into account the social construction of knowledge and social identities. Currently, he is the book review editor for the Journal of African American Studies. His latest interdisciplinary research interests include the Liverpool Black Atlantic, African American music influences on The Beatles, and the development and struggle of African & African American Studies as a field/discipline in the 21st Century.

Selected Publications:

  • Christian, M. (Ed.). (2012). Integrated but unequal: Black faculty in predominately white space. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.
  • Mark Christian. (Ed.) Integrated but Unequal: Black Faculty in Predominately White Space (Africa World Press, 2012)
  • Mark Christian. (Ed.) Black Identity in the 20th Century: Expressions of the US and UK African Diaspora (Hansib, 2002)
  • Mark Christian. Multiracial Identity: An International Perspective (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press/s, 2000)
  • Mark Christian (with Stephanie Y. Evans, Guest Editors) ‘Africana/Black Studies at the Graduate Level: A Twenty-First Century Perspective’ Western Journal of Black Studies. 34. (2) (Summer 2010)
  • Mark Christian. (Guest Editor) ‘Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association: New Perspectives on Philosophy, Religion, Micro-Studies, Unity and Practice’ Journal of Black Studies 39 (2) (November 2008)

MC K~Swift

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MC K~Swift

M.C. K~Swift (New Rap Order/ Universal Zulu Nation) is the Director of Youth Services for the Universal Zulu Nation. He is a Hip-Hop artist and educator, who has been recording and performing since 1994. He’s been a published poet since the age of 17, and appears in HBO’s “Brave New Voices” series. M.C. K~Swift has conducted creative writing and performance workshops in hundreds of high schools in NYC and throughout the tri-state area since 1999, as well as in institutions including: CUNY Grad Center, The New School, NYU, Wesleyan University and Columbia University. He has also trained educators at numerous schools, non-profit organizations and community centers on cultivating creativity in their classrooms.  A founding member of the progressive Hip-Hop collective, New  Rap Order, and a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, M.C. K~Swift is among both the vanguard and the old guard of True School Hip-Hop Culture.

M.C. K~Swift has been very instrumental as a co- coordinate for the 1st Annual Hip-Hop History Month Celebration: Elements of Culture Hip-Hop Educational Summit. Over a chance meeting and brief converstaion, he threw his total support and heart into making this Summit a success. ClassAction Student Group thanks you M.C. K~Swift, for sharing our vision for the future of Hip-Hop Education…

A Message from ClassAction Student Group…

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We started this site for the Summit because we wanted to set the tone for what this Summit is all about. The 1st Annual Hip-Hop History Month Celebration: Elements of Culture Hip-Hop Educational Summit if no one is aware, is historic. When you stop and think about the student body of Lehman College; the location of Lehman College; and the history of the so-called last boro; the reputation… statistics… and so on and so on… and then being able to boast about being the birthplace of Hip-Hop… Amazing 

Just like Lehman College, the Bronx is home to a diverse mix of cultures and this truth is represented in Hip-Hop Culture. This speaks to the very heart and soul of this Summit. The Elements of Culture Hip-Hop Educational Summit is a celebration of and tribute to Hip-Hop. The goal is not to critique the current state of rap music. This Summit is designed re-educate those in attendance about the True history, True Purpose of Hip-Hop. To re-claim and re-establish that Hip-Hop is for and about our Youth. Their protection in a society hostile to them. Their education in a society hostile to them. Their growth in a society hostile to them. To shout out that Hip-Hop is much, much more than beats and rhymes… And make no mistake the beats and rhymes will be celebrated on this day… but so will the other elements that make Hip-Hop Culture the global phenomenon it has grown to be. 

The Elements of Culture: Hip-Hop Educational Summit also acknowledges the debt owed to Hip-Hop’s 1st International Hip-Hop Awareness Organization – The Universal Zulu Nation. 

How can there be a Hip-Hop History Month Celebration anywhere that does not acknowledge and reach out to the Universal Zulu Nation. With chapters all over the world, The UZN has made manifest its vision of Planet Rock. Hip-Hop’s global reach and influence is in large part due to the UZN. The bridging of Cultures: Black, Brown, Red, Yellow and White worldwide. The awakening of Higher Consciousness, Self Expression and Creativity that like the Knowledge of our Ancient Ancestors, told us who we were, who we are and who we could be – Knowledge of Self, of our Communities, our People… The Universal Zulu Nation is the Foundation of Hip-Hop. And as we bear witness to Hip-Hop entering institutions of Higher Learning… So must its Foundation. The Universal Zulu Nation and all Pioneers of the Culture we claim identifies who we are. 

We have already learned the lesson of no longer Being the Ones who control, document, archive, distribute, lay claim – OWN what we create. Look at the world today and everywhere we look, we can see the effects of mis-education. Our Ancient Knowledge being used to enslave us instead of Enlighten us. Where’s the Universal Knowledge, Wisdom, Understanding, Peace Luv, Justice, Equality etched in stone by the Ancients. Where’s the Science, Mathematics, Critical Thinking skills of the Ancients? Their Lyrical Prose and dexterity… Get it?…lol…

So, are we once again going to bare witness of the effects of having what we created being controlled, documented, archived, distributed, lay claim – OWN by others? Harvard, Yale, Cornell, USC and so many institutions of higher education are benefiting from the addition of Hip-Hop Educational programs… Why shouldn’t Lehman benefit from a Hip-Hop Pedagogical Program. 

Lehman College is special because it is an institution of Higher Learning right here in the Bronx, not far from Sedgewick Ave. Come on…That’s why this Summit is important. Just like the Bronx, just like Hip-Hop, it is a collective of diverse individuals, diverse culture, that so beautifully and uniquely blend into this One amazing entity all its Own. 

On Friday November 8, we come together to celebrate Lehman, the Bronx and Hip-Hop Culture. We honor and pay tribute to our Elders DJ Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa for laying the foundation; and we show and prove the Power of Hip-Hop Pedagogy… 

This is also the spirit of this group. We are here to celebrate Hip-Hop Culture. We are here to exchange Knowledge… elevate social, political awareness and most importantly have fun… Its Hip-Hop… its Life…


Meet This Year’s Keynote Speaker… Toni Blackman

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toni Blackman

Poet, Educator, Author, Actress, Lyricist, Songwriter, Producer, and Hip-Hop/Musical Ambassador to the U.N…. Toni Blackman is this year’s Keynote Speaker for the 1st Annual Hip-Hop History Month Celebration: Elements of Culture Hip-Hop Educational Summit.  

Toni Blackman is a cultural ambassador and an advocate of improvisation. Her experiences as a diplomatic worker enable her to move through various communities (the arts, political circles, international gatherings, youth groups, academia, and the music industry) with ease. As America’s first Hip-Hop Ambassador, her work has consistently communicated that hip-hop is the international platform to position the US as a good global citizen.

Blackman has traveled and worked in 30 different countries including Senegal, Ghana, Botswana, Swaziland, Ivory Coast, the DRC, Brazil, South Africa, Angola, and a host of places in Europe. Her diplomatic work encompasses peace and reconciliation, literacy, HIV awareness, and gender violence prevention. Highly respected as the founder and director of Freestyle Union, a cipher workshop that uses free styling as a tool to encourage social responsibility, Blackman’s work has held great influence in the world of hip-hop activism. This former Echoing Green Fellow has also been a fellow with the Soros Foundation’s Open Society Institute. A great deal of Blackman’s creative organizing efforts involved the Freestyle Union and its woman-centric initiative Rhyme Like a Girl, which launched in partnership with Girls, Inc., and later partnered with the New School University.

Toni Blackman has transformed her passion for creativity and improvisation into a powerful presentation on “getting open,” being centered, and harnessing one’s own personal power from the inside out. She has performed and spoken at the Aspen Institute Summit in Oman, at the prestigious Pio Manzu International Conference in Italy, during the World Cup at the ManUp Summit in South Africa, and for the FORD Foundation and City Xpo Big Ideas Conference in Virginia. She has led workshops and trainings for the NBA, Craigslist Foundation events, Julliard, Ross School of Business-UM, Smithsonian Museum, Harvard, Girl Scouts “Beyond Bars” program for incarcerated mothers, Latin American Youth Center’s Gang Violence Prevention, MDGFive UN program for Maternal Health, and Institute for Policy Studies. A former adjunct professor of hip-hop at Binghamton University and a visiting professor at University of Michigan, Blackman is currently a judge for the US Department of State’s American Music Abroad program.

She toured Southeast Asia with Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Musical Ambassador Program and has shared the stage with the likes of Erykah Badu, Mos Def, The Roots, Wyclef, Dougie Fresh, Wu Tang Clan, GURU, KRS One, Bahamadia, Dead Prez, Boot Camp Clic, Me’Shell NdegeoCello, Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, Jill Sobule, James “Blood” Ulmer, Vernon Reid, Youssou Ndour, and even Rickie Lee Jones. Her first book, Inner-Course, was released in 2003 (Villard/Random House). Toni Blackman is available for performance workshops, lectures, inspirational talks, and small group and private coaching.

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