Irma McClaurin – Wikipedia

Irma P. McClaurin is an American poet, anthropologist, academic, and leadership consultant.
She was the first female president of Shaw University, and is the author or editor of several books on topics including the culture of Belize, black feminism, African-American history,
and her own poetry.

Education and career[edit]

McClaurin is African-American, and grew up in Chicago.[1] She majored in American Studies at Grinnell College,[2] graduating in 1973,[3]
and earned a Master of Fine Arts in English in 1976 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst,[2][4]
as part of the first generation in her family to earn college degrees.[1]
As a full-time mother,[1] she returned to the University of Massachusetts Amherst for additional graduate study, earning a Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1993.
She became a faculty member at the University of Florida,[2][4]
and also served as the editor of the journal Transforming Anthropology[5] from 1996 to 2002.

After working as an administrator at Fisk University,
she was named the Mott Distinguished Chair in Women’s Studies at Bennett College in 2004, where she founded the Africana Women’s Studies Program.[4][6]
She was a program officer at the Ford Foundation from 2005 to 2007.[7]
She founded the Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center at the University of Minnesota in 2007, and became its executive director.[4][8] From 2010 to 2011 she was president of Shaw University, serving as its first female president and guiding the university through a year in which it suffered major damage from a tornado.[4][6][9]

After stepping down from Shaw, she became a senior faculty member at the Federal Executive Institute and then the chief diversity officer of Teach For America.[2]


McClaurin won the Gwendolyn Brooks Literary Award for Poetry in 1975.[10]
In 2015, the Black Press of America named a column by McClaurin, “A Black mother weeps for America: Stop killing our Black sons!”, as the best in the country for that year.[3]
In 2016, the University of Massachusetts Amherst recognized McClaurin as a distinguished alumna.[2][4] In 2017, the National Women’s Studies Association gave her a special award for “her contributions to the growth and vitality of NWSA” in her work at the Ford Foundation, where she oversaw grants that led to dramatic changes in the association.[4][11]

McClaurin is the author or editor of:

  • Black Chicago (Amuru Rannick Press, 1971)[10]
  • Song in the Night (Pearl Press, 1974)[10]
  • Pearl’s Song: Poems (Lotus Press, 1988) ISBN 9780916418731
  • Women of Belize: Gender and Change in Central America (Rutgers University Press, 1996) ISBN 9780813523088 [12]
  • Black Feminist Anthropology: Theory, Politics, Praxis, and Poetics (edited, Rutgers University Press, 2001) ISBN 9780813529257 [13]
  • The Civil Rights Movement (with Virginia Schomp, Drama of African-American History, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2008) ISBN 9780761426424 [14]
  • Facing the Future (with Virginia Schomp, Drama of African-American History, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2008) ISBN 9780761426448 [14]


  1. ^ a b c Born Again: Anthropologist Irma McClaurin infuses pursuit of global truths about inequality with personal experience (PDF), Insight News, retrieved 2019-08-12
  2. ^ a b c d e Distinguished Alumni awards 2016: Irma McClaurin, University of Massachusetts Amherst Alumni Association, retrieved 2019-08-12
  3. ^ a b “Irma McClaurin ’73 wins first place, Best in Nation for Column Writing, at the Black Press of America annual convention in Detroit”, The Grinnell Magazine, Grinnell College, June 30, 2015, retrieved 2019-08-12
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Former UROC Executive Director Irma McClaurin Honored, Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center, University of Minnesota, retrieved 2019-08-12; National Women’s Studies Association recognizes Dr. Irma McClaurin for her contributions to the organization’s growth and success (PDF), National Women’s Studies Association, November 30, 2017, retrieved 2019-08-12
  5. ^ McClaurin, Irma (January 2000), “From the Editor”, Transforming Anthropology, 9 (1): 1–2, doi:10.1525/tran.2000.9.1.1
  6. ^ a b “Shaw University names its first female president”, Greensboro News & Record, September 9, 2010, retrieved 2019-08-12
  7. ^ Brown-Glaude, Winnifred R. (2008), Doing Diversity in Higher Education: Faculty Leaders Share Challenges and Strategies, Rutgers University Press, p. xv, ISBN 9780813545974
  8. ^ Simmons, David (November 2010), “Anthropology-Led Community-Engagement Programs”, American Anthropologist, 112 (4): 643–645, doi:10.1111/j.1548-1433.2010.01285.x
  9. ^ Shaw University president resigns after 11-month tenure, WRAL, August 9, 2011
  10. ^ a b c “The Gwendolyn Brooks Literary Awards”, Black World/Negro Digest, Johnson Publishing Company, p. 49, January 1976
  11. ^ Ulysse, Gina Athena (November 29, 2017), “NWSA Cultivates Belonging and Honors Irma McClaurin”, Huffington Post, retrieved 2019-08-12
  12. ^ Reviews of Women of Belize:
    • Bonner, Donna (December 1997), American Anthropologist, New Series, 99 (4): 858–859, doi:10.1525/aa.1997.99.4.858, JSTOR 682556{{citation}}: CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)
    • Henderson, Peta (1998), New West Indian Guide, 72 (1/2): 177–179, JSTOR 41849918{{citation}}: CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)
    • Babcock, Elizabeth C. (June 1998), The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 4 (2): 395–396, doi:10.2307/3034558, JSTOR 3034558{{citation}}: CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)
    • Berleant-Schiller, Riva (1999), “Women, Work, and Gender in the Caribbean: Recent Research”, Latin American Research Review, 34 (1): 201–211, JSTOR 2503932
    • Radcliffe, Sarah A. (Spring 2001), Signs, 26 (3): 905–907, doi:10.1086/495636, JSTOR 3175547{{citation}}: CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)
    • Freeman, Carla; Murdock, Donna F. (Summer 2001), “Enduring Traditions and New Directions in Feminist Ethnography in the Caribbean and Latin America”, Feminist Studies, 27 (2): 423–458, doi:10.2307/3178768, JSTOR 3178768

  13. ^ Reviews of Black Feminist Anthropology:
    • Moses, Yolanda T. (Spring 2002), Anthropological Quarterly, 75 (2): 427–431, doi:10.1353/anq.2002.0036, JSTOR 3318274, S2CID 144002641{{citation}}: CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)
    • James, Stanlie M. (October 2002), Gender and Society, 16 (5): 748–749, doi:10.1177/0891243202016005010, JSTOR 3081958, S2CID 220467150{{citation}}: CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)
    • Frederick, Marla (March 2003), Contemporary Sociology, 32 (2): 254–255, doi:10.2307/3089635, JSTOR 3089635{{citation}}: CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)
    • Samantrai, Ranu (March 2004), American Anthropologist, 106 (1): 201–202, doi:10.1525/aa.2004.106.1.201, JSTOR 3567484{{citation}}: CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)

  14. ^ a b “Books in series”, Children’s Bookwatch, Midwest Book Review, 18 (4), April 2008

External links[edit]