Ph.D., Institute of Liberal Arts, Emory University, 1996
Masters of Arts, Institute of Liberal Arts, Emory University, 1990
Bachelor of Arts, Afro-American Studies, California State University, 1986
African descendant social movement history and theory
History of Civil Rights Movement
History of the Black Power movement
indigenous African traditional and African derived religions in the Americas
Akinyele Umoja is a scholar-activist and Professor of African-American Studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. Born in Los Angeles and raised in Compton, California, Dr. Umoja is an alumnus of Compton High School, California State University Los Angeles (BA), and Emory University (MA and PhD) in Atlanta, Georgia. His research and instruction are focused on the history of Civil Rights and Black Power and other resistance and social movements. Professor Umoja is the author of the award-winning book We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance and the Mississippi Freedom Movement (New York University, 2013). Umoja is the co-editor of the two-volume Black Power Encyclopedia (2018), which has been acknowledged as one of the “Top Ten References” and in “Top Ten Diverse, Non-fiction” texts in 2019 from the American Library Association, among other recognitions. Professor Umoja a editor of a 2018 special issue of The Black Scholar on the legacy of revolutionary activist, attorney, and elected official, the Honorable Chokwe Lumumba. Umoja’s research has also appeared in several Africana Studies, History, and Political Science journals and anthologies.
Dr. Umoja is a leader in the promotion and the continuity of scholar-activism in the field of Africana Studies. He is an active member in the National Council of Black Studies (NCBS) and the Association of African-American Life and History (ASALH). Umoja was the recipient of the NCBS 2013 President’s Award for outstanding contribution to the discipline of African-American Studies. He currently serves as an NCBS national board member and is the chair of the organization’s Civic Engagement committee, which supports Black Studies departments’ social responsibility initiatives. He also serves on the editorial board of The Black Scholar.
Professor Umoja is also a human rights and social justice activist. He is a co-founder of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, an organization committed to human rights, self-determination, and reparations of African descendants in the United States and internationally. Along with his wife, educator Aminata Umoja, he and other comrades organized and initiated Atlanta’s first Malcolm X Festival in 1989, which just celebrated its 30th year. Due to his civic engagement and scholar-activism, he received awards from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists (1998) and the National Council of Black Studies (2008). Umoja was inducted into Selma, Alabama’s Hall of Resistance in the Enslavement and Civil War Museum during the city’s annual Bridge Crossing and Jubilee Celebration. Other inductees into the Hall of Resistance include author Sonia Sanchez, and scholar-activists Asa Hilliard, Maulana Karenga, Ray Winbush, and legendary Hip Hop artist Tupac Shakur. Umoja has also traveled to Spain, Germany, Cuba, Haiti, and Venezuela to speak on forums on Black self-determination, reparations, and human rights.