I'm Kyle Mays, a first year doctoral student in history. I'm African American and Native American (Saginaw Chippewa from Michigan). And, as an extension of my racial and cultural background, I'm interested in the relationship between African Americans and Native Americans in the 20th century, specifically notions of "radicalism" and racial categories. I'm interested in how these histories intersect and where they diverge, from the Progressive Era and until the 1970s (the Black and Red Power eras).
I hail from Lansing, Michigan and I did undergraduate work at Michigan State University. One of my favorite things to do was working for Dr. Geneva Smitherman's My Brother's Keeper program, a mentoring program for adolescent African American males from the newly formed Paul Robeson-Malcolm X Academy. Therefore, I'm not only interested in African American and Native American history, I'm also very interested in how young people can be mentored and can learn through history. Not only should students learn history for history's sake, but historical knowledge should be used to inform the present situation of people. In other words, history should be used not only for knowledge but for a transformation of society today. This, I believe, can be done through educating youth with the intent of empowering them to change their immediate conditions for the better.