After 196 years, college grants tenure to a Black professor

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In this photo provided by Centenary College of Louisiana, associate professor Andia Augustin-Billy listens to a student inside the Pantheon in Paris on Aug. 11, 2018, while teaching as part of Centenary College’s Centenary in Paris program for first-year students. At 196 years Louisiana’s oldest college, Centenary plans a gathering Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021, to honor Augustin-Billy as the first Black person to gain tenure at the school. (Sherry Heflin/Centenary College of Louisiana via AP)

LOUISIANA – The oldest college in Louisiana is celebrating its first granting of tenure to a Black faculty member, and discussing why this racial milestone took nearly two centuries to accomplish. Centenary College of Louisiana associate professor Andia Augustin-Billy now has a lifetime appointment to teach French, literature, women’s studies and other topics at the small Methodist-affiliated liberal arts college in Shreveport.

The school’s archivist says racism is why this took 196 years, “structural and institutional and systemic racism,” dating back to when slave owners founded the school.

College President Christopher Holoman says Centenary is now committed to pursuing full inclusion. Its student body is 18 percent Black, but Augustin-Billy is one of just three Black faculty members.

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