Documenting The African Diaspora

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Dr. Reginald L. Jackson, an international expert in visual communication and visual anthropology, met with Tom Hodson, director of WOUB Public Media, and granted an interview for Conversations from Studio B

Dr. Jackson stated that Africa is the cradle of civilization and explained how African culture, religions, dances and foods have permeated and endured throughout the world – especially with people of color.

He notes that this is especially true in North America, Cuba, the Caribbean, South America and Brazil.

Dr. Jackson has traveled throughout Africa and photographed various cultural traditions that he found replicated in other parts of the world.

He has documented these comparable cultures with thousands of photographs and visual images, with many of his photographs displayed at The Yale University Art Gallery, The Boston Athenaeum, MIT Museum, Studio Museum in Harlem, the Bowdoin Museum of Art, the RISD Museum of Art and Simmons and Amherst Colleges.

Dr. Jackson also is the founder and the president of Olaleye Communications, Inc. in Boston, Ma.

"He serves as a consultant to artists, scholars, institutions and students in visual communications conducting research related to demystifying and understanding the resilience and perseverance of the African experience," according to his biography.

Dr. Jackson has a doctoral degree in Communications and Visual Anthropology from Union Institute. Earlier, he received his MFA and BFA degrees from Yale and a master’s degree in social work from the SUNY at Stony Brook.

He explained to Hodson how his degree in social work and his degrees in photography and design combined to give him a trained eye to document cultures and sub-cultures within societies.

Dr. Jackson is a Professor Emeritus of Communications at Simmons College and was chosen as Simmons College’s Man of the Year in 2007.

For the past four years, he has been Dean of International Relations and Professor of Visual Communications at the African University College of Communications in Accra, Ghana.

Additionally, he has received numerous academic awards such as a Fulbright Scholarship, a Ford Foundation award and fellowships from the Smithsonian Institution and MIT.

Dr. Jackson visited students and faculty at Ohio University in the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism, the School of Visual Communication, the Institute for International Journalism, the Scripps College of Communication and African Studies.

Photos: Reginald L. Jackson, www.olaleye.org