The Ebony Tower is an academic thought collective designed to generate dialogue around the experiences of young scholars of color. In particular, we are interested in naming the issues that impact the success and well-being of academics of color and offering resources and advice to overcome those hurdles. The Ebony Tower will serve as a safe space to read and share stories of struggle and triumph, to gain insight about navigating academic spaces that may be socially and intellectually stifling, and to learn about the work of rising and established scholars of color. The site will feature personal narratives, resources, spotlight of impactful and thought-provoking scholarship, and advice addressing all aspects of graduate life – from applying to a program to landing a job.
The Ebony Tower hopes to serve as a source of inspiration and support for academics of color who seek to survive, scale, and thrive within the ivory tower.
Daphne Penn is a PhD candidate in Education at Harvard University with a concentration in Culture, Institutions, and Society. She is the recipient of the Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship, the Harvard University Presidential Scholar Fellowship, and the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research Visiting Graduate Student Fellowship. Daphne earned a BS in Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University and a MS in Sociology from Purdue University. She is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (XΦΩ 💕💚).
Daphne’s desire to create The Ebony Tower as an online community for current and future scholars of color was motivated by both her personal experiences navigating various institutions of higher education as a first-generation college graduate and her professional and academic commitment to bridging the gap between scholars of colors and the communities they study and serve.
When she has writer’s block or is simply procrastinating, Daphne enjoys reading material completely unrelated to her research, binge watching epic TV shows, cooking, and playing poker.
Rachel is both co-editor and resident anthropologist at The Ebony Tower. As a first generation Haitian-American from New York, Rachel has always had an interest in storytelling, culture, and transnational experiences. She hopes to bring this desire to The Ebony Tower through urging scholars of color throughout the diaspora to share their experiences and to encourage scholars in the US to engage, cite, and co-create with international scholars as well.
Rachel holds a Ph.D. from American University in Washington DC. Her work looks at religious influences on community service initiatives in Northeastern Brazil. She enjoys spending hours in local bookstores, going to carnivals (i.e. the Caribbean & Afro-latinx variety) and hot yoga. She is co-producer of the documentary film Chèche Lavi and is always looking for her next creative endeavor.