Jemadari Kamara, Ph.D.
Professor, Africana Studies Department, UMass Boston
Jemadari Kamara has been the elected chairman of the Africana Studies Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB 2021-present, 2011, 2007-2008, 1996-2001). He is also the founding director of the Center for African, Caribbean and Community Development at UMB. Dr. Kamara served as dean of the College of Public and Community Service (1988-1993). He is also a two time Fulbright Scholar having served at the Université Nationale du Benin (UNB 1985-1987) and the Université Gaston Berger in St. Louis, Senegal (2001-2002). He has taught at several other universities including the University of Michigan, Brandeis and Dillard Universities.
Among his earliest publications that explored the consequences of economic divestment and dislocation in industrial America was Socially Responsible Investment and Economic Development (editor). Published by the University of Michigan, School of Business Administration, this volume examined the process of disinvestment and options available to labor unions, the public sector, and foundations seeking to restore the dignity and opportunity to communities impacted by the dislocations.
During the 1990’s he helped to found and continues to coordinate the Annual Martin Luther King, Jr./ Amilcar Cabral Commemorative Program. In 2013 he participated in the first commemoration held in Africa in Cabo Verde focused on “Pathways to Democracy and Social Justice”. A volume entitled, Leadership and Legacy: Amilcar Cabral and Martin Luther King, Jr., based upon this work will be released in 2022.
Also, Professor Kamara collaborated in developing the Community Action Information Network (CAIN). Funded by Kellogg and Boston Foundation grants, this project assisted community based organizations in applying technology and data-based information to community defined purposes for development. A monograph series, Race, Space and Policy Issues, has documented the work of this project.
Dr. Kamara has been involved in educational, environmental, youth leadership and economic development projects both in the United States and West Africa. He serves as an international coordinator for the Youth, Education and Sports (YES) with Africa Program which has served nearly 4,000 West African youth. Of particular interest has been his ongoing work using photovoltaic (solar) systems for electrification and economic development.
Among his numerous publications is the award winning State of the Race – Creating Our 21st Century (2004 co-editor and contributor). This volume, which contains articles from 25 contributors from eight different countries, received the Charshee McIntrye Award from the African Heritage Studies Association as the Outstanding Book of the Year. Additionally, three other volumes, Interrogating Gaze: Senghor, Negritude and Decolonization, Through an Unfiltered Lens: Black Power in Boston and the Black World, (co-editor and contributor), and Decolonizing Praxis: Voices of Resistance and Transformation, (editor and contributor) are expected to be released in 2023.
Professor Kamara earned his Ph.D. in the Urban, Technological and Environmental Planning Program from the University of Michigan. He also attended Tufts University and Fourah Bay College in Freetown, Sierra Leone. He is the father of two adult children.
Active in many national and community activities, Dr. Kamara has been recognized as a HistoryMaker and has served on the board of directors of the Freedom House, as well as treasurer of the West African Research Association. Currently, he serves as a senior advisor to the Boston Pan-African Forum and Encuentro Diaspora Afro.