#BlackHistoryFacts | Marcus Garvey

Black history fact #8

Marcus Garvey (1887-1940) was a political leader, orator, and proponent of Pan-Africanism and the black nationalist movements. Born in Jamaica, Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in 1912 with the goal of uniting all people of African descent to establish a country and absolute government of their own. In 1916, after moving to New York City, he founded the newspaper

Negro World, 

a UNIA chapter in Harlem, an international shipping company called Black Star Line, and the Negro Factories Corporation. He advanced a philosophy---Garveyism---that combined the economic and black nationalist ideals of Pan-Africanist and Booker T. Washington. Garveyism inspired a global mass movement. During the 1920s, the UNIA was the largest black secular organization in black history, with approximately a million men and women from the US, Caribbean, and Africa. He sought to use black wealth and solidarity to end discrimination in the US and imperialism in Africa and to create modern African societies. He also urged black Americans to proud of their race. Garveyism would eventually inspire others, including the Nation of Islam and Rastafari movement.

Thank you Marcus Garvey for reminding us that blackness is powerful!

#BlackHistoryFacts | Thurgood Marshall

Black history fact #7

Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) was a US Supreme Court Justice and civil rights advocate. As legal counsel for the NAACP, he was instrumental in ending legal segregation. In 1954, he led the litigation in the landmark case Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, which ended racial segregation in public schools, in front of the Supreme Court. He won the case by showing segregation in schools was unconstitutional. This landmark decision set the stage for the civil rights movement. Marshall was appointed to the US Supreme Court in 1967 and became the nation's first black justice. He served for 24 years until 1991, working for civil rights for all Americans. Justice Marshall consistently supported rulings that upheld strong protections of individual rights and liberal considerations of controversial social issues. He was part of the majority that ruled in favor of legalizing abortion in the 1973 landmark case Roe vs. Wade. Alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, Thurgood Marshall is viewed as one of the most important and greatest figures in the Civil Rights Movement, pursuing racial equality through the courts.

Thanks Justice Thurgood Marshall for fighting for all of our rights! 

BlackHistoryFacts | Mary McLeod Bethune

Black history fact # 6

Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955) was an American educator, advisor to five US presidents, and civil rights activist best known for starting a private school for black students in Daytona Beach, Florida. In 1904, she founded the Daytona Educational and Industrial School for Negro Girls, which later merged with the Cookman Institute to become Bethune-Cookman College. In 2007, the school became Bethune Cookman University. Mary McLeod was also a national leader on issues related to civil rights, education, women, and young people, as president of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs and the founder of the National Council of Negro Women. She received several national commissions, including the Coolidge Administration's Child Welfare Conference, and the Hoover Administration's National Commission on Child Welfare and Commission on Home Building and Home Ownership, and served as advisor on minority affairs under Roosevelt Administration.

Thanks Mary McLeod Bethune for working tirelessly for our betterment!

#BlackHistoryFacts | Arturo Schomburg

Black History Fact #2

Arturo Schomburg, also known as Arthur Schomburg, (1874-1938) was a writer, activist, and important figure in the Harlem Renaissance. He is most noted for being an avid collector of materials on the Africa Diaspora, including literature, art, slave narratives, and other materials, amassing a collection of over 10,000 prints, books, and artifacts.  In 1925, his private collection was purchased and added to the Division of Negro Literature, History and Prints of the 135th Street (Harlem) branch of the New York City Public Library. Schomburg himself served as curator of the library from 1932 until his death in 1938. Later, the Division was renamed the

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

(in 1972). Today, the Schomburg Center is one of the foremost research centers on the African Diaspora, with more than 10 million items.

Thank you Arturo Schomburg for your contribution to the research on black culture and peoples!

8 Black Children's Books Every Child Should Read

The last few months I have gifted the children of my friends sets of black children's books that I either loved as a kid or recently discovered on amazon.com. I decided to compile a list of some of my favorites. Share this list with your family, your mommy and daddy friends, your kids, your nieces and nephews, and anyone who loves good children's literature featuring beautiful black children.


"Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky" by Elphinstone Dayrell (author); Blair Lent (illustrator)

Story Details: Sun and his wife, the moon, lived on Earth and built a large house so that the water people could visit. But so many poured in that they were forced to move to the sky.

"Please, Baby, Please" by Spike Lee and Tonya Lee (authors); Nadir Nelson (illustrator)

Story Details: From moments fussy to fond, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Spike Lee and his wife, producer Tonya Lewis Lee, present a behind-the-scenes look at the chills, spills, and unequivocal thrills of bringing up baby! Vivid illustrations from celebrated artist Kadir Nelson evoke toddlerhood from sandbox to high chair to crib, and families everywhere will delight in sharing these exuberant moments again and again.

"Lola at the Library" by Anna McQuinn (author); Rosalind Beardshaw (illustrator)

Story Details: Lola has a big smile on her face. Why? Because it's Tuesday--and on Tuesdays, Lola and her mommy go to the library. Join Lola in this cozy celebration of books and the people who love them.

"Big Hair, Don't Care" by Crystal Swain-Bates (author); Megan Blair (illustrator)

Story Details: Lola has really really REALLY big hair, much bigger than the other kids at her school, but that doesn't stop her from telling anyone who will listen just how much she LOVES her hair! It´s not always easy being a kid. Designed to boost self-esteem and build confidence, this beautifully illustrated picture book is aimed at boys and girls who may need a reminder from time to time that it's okay to look different from the other kids at their school. "Big Hair, Don't Care" is available in English, French, and German.

"Full, Full, Full of Love" by Trish Cooke (author); Paul Howard (illustrator)

Story Details: For the youngest member of an exuberant extended family, Sunday dinner at Grannie’s can be full indeed - full of hugs and kisses, full of tasty dishes, full to the brim with happy faces, and full, full, full of love. With a special focus on the bond between little Jay Jay and his grannie, Trish Cooke introduces us to a gregarious family we are sure to want more, more, more of.

"Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats (author)

Story Details: No book has captured the magic and sense of possibility of the first snowfall better than The Snowy Day. Universal in its appeal, the story has become a favorite of millions, as it reveals a child's wonder at a new world, and the hope of capturing and keeping that wonder forever. The adventures of a little boy in the city on a very snowy day.

"Every Little Thing" by Bob Marley and Cedella Marley (authors); Vanessa Brantley-Newton (illustrator)

Story Details: Now in board book, Every Little Thing brings Bob Marley's beloved song to life for a new generation. Every family will relate to this universal story of a boy who won't let anything get him down, as long as he has the help of three special little birds. Including all the lyrics of the original song plus new verses, this cheerful book will bring a smile to faces of all ages—because every little thing's gonna be all right.

"Peekaboo Morning" by Rachel Isadora (author/illustrator)

Story Details: A toddler plays a game of peekaboo, and you're invited to play too. First there's Mommy to find, with Daddy not far behind. Then Puppy comes peeking around the corner, and a favorite toy train brings the toddler to Grandma and Grandpa. Isadora's brilliant, joyful pastel illustrations capture the familiar and cozy people, toys and animals that will delight babies. Join this sweet toddler in the morning fun, sharing words your baby can repeat and pictures your baby will recognize. Then find out what this toddler sees next. It could be you!

Beyonce Gets in FORMATION and Tells the World She #StayWoke

Unless you were living under rock or you passed out upon hearing about this surprise drop, you have encountered (and I do mean encountered because it was an event) Beyonce's new song and video, "Formation," which dropped Saturday, February 6th, a day ahead of her scheduled Super Bowl 50 performance.  

I have to first say that I hate Beyonce for doing these kind of surprise music/video drops. It is killer to my nerves. Makes me feel like I always gotta be ready for an immediate purchase (and the way my bank account works, Navient, Perkins Loan, and ACS gotta get their coins first before I can do anything).  

With that said, I loved this video. It was SO BLACK! Unapologetically black! And, you know I am all for it. The images were so powerful: 

  • A young black boy dancing in front of a line of police officers in riot gear, next to a wall with the words "stop shooting us" graffitied on it.

  • Beyonce on top of a sinking New Orleans police car in the middle of flood waters.

  • Beyonce decked in all black and flanked by black men in all black, looking like a junk joint jazz band.

I could honestly watch this video over and over again (on mute). Yes, I said mute. The song...well...I am not sold on it. On first listen, it did nothing for me. I like some of the lyrics such as "I like my baby hair with baby hair and afros" and "I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils."It does not get any more pro-black than that, especially for the straight, blonde haired, chick-o-stick pop star former manager Matthew Knowles groomed (his daughter/cash cow) Beyonce to be. But the rest of the lyrics just sounded like a bunch of lines strung together. The New Orleans "bounce" beat really adds a thick layer of triple chocolate cake-type blackness to song. Makes it sound gritty. The song almost sounds like it is growling at you, "stop and listen to me." I just wish the all of the lyrics were as strong as the beat and the video. But, unfortunately it is not. 

"Formation" is definitely the most "woke" song and visuals Beyonce has ever produced; and I am so happy that she decided to step up and out. 

Keeping it coming, Bey! #StayWoke #VeryBlack #UnapologeticallyBlack

#29DaysOfBlackness: Outfit of the Day 4.0 (and a Langston Hughes poem)

I got this shirt in 2008 as part of a set of voting-themed clothing, and it is still dope as F*ck!

Shirt: "I, too, Sing America" t-shirt by Ragamuffin Clothing (company has since closed but still love the shirt) || Earrings: Large Adinkra Sankofa earrings by

Seiwa Akoto

I, too, sing America

I am the darker brother.

They send me to eat in the kitchen when company comes.

But I laugh.

And eat well. 

And grow strong. 

Tomorrow, I'll be at the table.

When company comes, nobody'll dare say to me,

"Eat in the kitchen," then. 

Besides, they'll see how beautiful I am and be ashamed.

I, too, am America

--Langston Hughes 

#29DaysofBlackness: "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou is hands down one of my favorite creatives---poet, author, actress, dancer, activist, and black girl magic practitioner. The first time I heard her poem "Still I Rise" as a young girl,  I was mesmerized by the beauty and power of Maya Angelou's words. My favorite line of the poem is "Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave." These words emboldens me to live my best and most authentic life by highlighting 

the strength, determination, and resilience of my ancestors.

*"Still I Rise" From Frank Morrison Cutest Kids Collection.*

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops.

Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don't you take it awful hard

'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines

Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I've got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame

I rise

Up from a past that's rooted in pain

I rise

I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

How To Be Happy At Work: Be Authentic

In an earlier blog post, I talked about the

importance of living in your truth.

 I specifically discussed how I decided to be more authentic at work, in the classroom with my students. I was really tired of splitting my energy between presenting a professional image of a college professor (that was very much based on a socio-historical/cultural image of college professors as "old white men") and being myself. When I first started teaching at my current university, I was so worried that the students were judging me based on my youth, race, and gender that I developed a

severe anxiety

 about my teaching (despite this being my third university teaching job). I was afraid of my students viewing as "the unqualified, bad black female professor." So, I over-prepared and carefully chose my words when I spoke. And, if I misspelled or mispronounced something, I internally freaked out and then beat myself up about it after class. I hated going to work. I was miserable, severely anxious, and deeply depressed. This way of being was not healthy and limited my capacity to put forth my best work. 

Though things got better as I got used to teaching at this university, I still had a bit of anxiety about my teaching. This all changed this semester; I decided that I was going to stop "playing professor" and just be myself all the time---smart, young, loud, opinionated, quirky, emotional, a bit fearless, and #veryblack. I wore my "

Notorious BIG

," "

Hillman College

," and "

Because of Them We Can

" sweatshirts, and 

Nola Darling shirt pins

, with my dress pants, skirts, and shoes. I didn't back down from talking about racism, sexism, homophobia, police brutality, islamophobia, xenophobia, and other social ills happening on campus and across this country. I let go of my insecurities and "kept it 100" (as one of my students said). I stopped worrying about their evaluations of me. I talked to my students the way I talk to everyone else in my life. I challenged my students and myself to be honest, open, and authentic inside and outside the classroom. I admitted when I was wrong or didn't know something. I laughed at my spelling mistakes and brain farts. I allowed my passion for teaching take up 100% of my energy and focus while I was in the classroom. 

After doing all of these things, I can honestly say I no longer feel anxious. Instead, I am now happy at work. And, I am getting the respect and praise that I wanted, needed, and deserved. 


Here are the responses I received (in the form of notes from some of my students and a special message from the Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs) after I decided to "be authentic" at work: 

Professor Tavernier, I thank you so much for all the work you have done and all the care you have taken for your class this semester.  You can see what a difference you are  making.  How lucky we are to have you teaching with us.

To all of you, thank you for all you do.


Provost, Vice President for Academic Affairs

thank you for teaching this semester and making my brain work. 

Happy Holidays,


Hope you have an wonderful christmas break Dr. T.

It was a pleasure having you as a professor, hope to see You again soon.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year



Professor, I would just like to thank you for an incredible semester! I learned a lot and I hope we can stay in touch. Have a good break and happy holidays!


I really enjoyed our class this semester and I hope that you have a great break.

Thank you, 


Thank you for a great semester!

Hope to see you soon,


i wanted to thank you for an amazing semester and experience have a happy holiday and wish the best for you in the future.



I had a wonderful semester. I will easily try to take another one of your classes. i hope you had a great holiday, and Happy new year!


Thank you for being such a great influence on me this semester. You have taught me more life lessons than probably anyone. I appreciate you so much and am truly going to miss you. I am going to visit you next semester so please send me your office hours! Have a fabulous winter break and a very Merry Christmas! Don't forget about me!  <3 


Thank you for a great class. You really opened my eyes to alot of things and I learned alot as well. 

Keep keepin  it real

Thanks again, 


Thank you for teaching our class. I truly enjoyed it. Have a good break!!



Thank you for a great semester!


It was a pleasure being in your class.

Thank You


Thank you for a fun and interesting class. I feel it really helped me learn a lot about things that are super important to me.

Thank you!


I hope you have a great break and thank you for being a great teacher. I look forward to taking another class with you in the future!

Thanks again,


I just wanted to say thank you for this semester. You were one of the best teachers I've ever had and I am looking forward to being in your class (white collar crime) in the spring semester.

Enjoy the holidays,


Hello Professor Tavernier, 

I Just wanted to say Thank you for all your help and support during the class it was greatly appreciated and I learned a lot and I definitely keep in touch! Have a great break 

Hi Dr.Tavernier,

‪I really enjoyed your class.You made it fun and a real learning experience.I wish the best to you and your family for a happy and joyfull holiday. 


Monica's Special Message For My Students

Had the great pleasure of meeting Monica after her Code Red Experience Tour in NYC. I told her I was a long time fan and traveled to NYC from Boston on Sunday to see her, despite having to teach an early morning class the next day. She graciously offered to record a special message for them.

Monica and Toya T. Bucket List Moment. December 13, 2015

Me and My Students. Sociology. Social Inequality Class. December 14, 2015

Me and My Students. Criminology. Social Deviance Class. December 15, 2015