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African American Studies
University of Mississippi

Hope Owens-Wilson – Alumna Spotlight

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Hometown: Jackson, MS
BA in African American Studies, minor in Theatre Arts (2014)
LinkedIn Profile 

Hope Owens-Wilson pursued the emphasis in Social and Political Systems for the major in the African-American Studies, and her thesis was on the reasons why and how Black women persist at predominantly white educational institutions. She interned with the UM William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, where she facilitated restorative dialogue circles in communities with racially traumatic histories and helped high school students develop community improvement plans.

Since graduation Owens-Wilson has worked with young people in several different roles – educator in Milwaukee public schools, Youth Education Coordinator with Milwaukee Film, and Youth Organizer for the ACLU of Wisconsin. She also returned to Mississippi to work with the Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation – now named The Alluvial Collective – as Policy and Community Engagement Coordinator.  <current position here>

Why choose African American Studies at UM?

Growing up in Mississippi, I was nurtured on the legacy of Civil Rights movement leaders such as Medgar Evers and Fannie Lou Hamer. Their work and my first-hand experiences with the dearth of resources available to people in Mississippi pushed me to fight for equitable access to critical services and opportunities to ensure positive outcomes for folks in Mississippi.

My mother was on the faculty at UM Medical Center, giving me an interest in race and medicine. I selected African American Studies because I was not getting the “identity pieces” that I needed to be successful. One African American Studies faculty member, Brian Cooper-Owens, drew my interest to AAS because he has such a broad concept of Black identity.

Studying AAS at the University of Mississippi, you get a 360-degree view of the past, and can see the connections in American history – where we are now and where we are going. UM is unique because of its history and its location in Mississippi and the South.

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