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Emory University Offers Groundbreaking Class About the ‘Power of Black Self-Love’

Students at Emory University demonstrate what Black Girl Magic looks like on campus (Aiyanna Sanders/Power of Black Self-Love website)

The lack of positivity surrounding Black Americans has launched a wave of empowering social movements over the years, including Black Girl Magic and the online community of Black Twitter.

Now, Emory University is giving students the chance to study the positive impact of African-Americans loving ourselves with its “The Power of Black Self-Love” course, which it offered during the fall 2016 semester.

“The Power of Black Self-Love” developed out of the intersections of religion professor Dianne Stewart’s class called “Black Love” and liberal arts instructor Donna Troka’s “Resisting Racism: From Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter” course, according to Emory News Center. The desire for students to explore themes such as Black love and political movements in Black history ultimately led to a 10-student, one-hour course co-taught by Stewart and Troka.

“These are some amazingly sharp students who have engaged in difficult — and sometimes vulnerable — conversations,” Troka said. “Many have had to learn to negotiate environments that were sometimes overtly, sometimes covertly against them, and are now thinking about it theoretically, culturally and personally.”

The course required each student to dive deeply into topics of their choosing to better understand the subjects covered in class, which included social media’s impact on Black Lives Matter and Black Twitter’s growing power and influence over the past several years. The students’ final projects, which were presented in December, were meant to depict examples of Black self-love. They ranged from a photo gallery on Black Girl Magic, which celebrates Black girls’ and women’s empowerment, to exercising self-care — by pampering yourself, for instance — as a means of loving yourself.

“I’ve never done anything like this before,” Stewart said. “It’s been so rewarding, such a powerful experience. Rich conversations have emerged, and I really learned a lot about where students are and how much critical, revolutionary conversation is happening within social media around the topic of Black self-love.”

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