On May 2, 2017, The Center for Black Studies held its annual seniors symposium for graduating seniors majoring or minoring in Black Studies. At this event, the Black Studies Program took the opportunity to acknowledge the 25 year contribution of Dr. Anita Waters, Professor of Anthropology/Sociology and Black Studies who retired this May.
Dr. Linda Krumholz, Professor of English and Black Studies addressed the audience of faculty, staff, and students about the meaningful contributions Dr. Waters brought to the Black Studies Program for over two decades of teaching and service.
Dr. Waters joined the Denison faculty in 1992, and at the invitation of Professor Desmond Hamlet (English and Black Studies), she joined the Black Studies Committee that same year. Dr. Waters’ Black Studies courses included: Race and Ethnicity and Culture, Identity and Politics in the Caribbean. Her research focuses on political culture in Jamaica and Cuba, as well as East African immigrant communities in North America. She is the author of two books, Race, Class and Political Symbols and Planning the Past, as well as recent articles about the presentation of revolutionary history in Cuba and the commemoration of Walter Rodney in Jamaica.
An avid advocate of social justice, Anita’s contributions spanned: serving on the Newark Community Relations Commission to working with the Somali immigrant community in Columbus, Ohio. On campus she was known for fostering cultural exchange through sharing her love for Reggae music and from 1998 to 2006, she hosted a reggae radio show on WDUB. In fact, according to the Denison summary of Dr. Waters for the 2017 commencement brochure, she “famously conducted the last known interview with the legendary Bob Marley and attended his funeral while she was attending graduate school.” Waters was generous in her leadership and service to Denison via positions on the President’s Advisory Board, as Chair of the Faculty, through her contributions to diversifying the faculty in the Department of Sociology/Anthropology, and in serving as a Posse Mentor.
She also conducted a law enforcement observation project since 2000 in which students had the opportunity to conduct field studies that allowed them to participate in “ride-alongs” with local police. Now, as professor emerita, Dr. Waters will expand her studies of Caribbean political cultures and continue her work on writing projects such as: over-policing in Jamaica and the U.S., and historical commemorations in Havana, Cuba, and Miami’s “Little Havana.” She also plans to further develop her skills as an organizer, working with the Ohio Conference of the American Association of University Professors to form advocacy chapters of the AAUP in small private colleges, and also continuing to work on issues of interest to the Somali community.