Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2022

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Primate Behavior

Committee Chair

Jessica Mayhew

Second Committee Member

Marwa Ghazali

Third Committee Member

Michelle Rodrigues


This study introduces the intertwined history between Black U.S. Americans (hereinafter referred to as “Black American/s”), the African Diaspora (hereinafter referred to as “the Diaspora”), physical and biological anthropologies, and racism. It will detail the biographies of some of the earliest and impactful Black American physical anthropologists who confronted the established, institutionalized facets of discrimination and introduced what knowledge, talents, and insights a population labeled as “inferior” had to offer. This study aims to identify the reasons why the Black American is a scarce demographic in the discipline of primatology. Using quantitative and qualitative data collecting and analytical methods, insight into the current state of Black Americans in primatology in both academia and the workspace uncover the differences in social acceptance and cohesiveness between the Diaspora and non-Diaspora identifying groups. Qualitative results provide evidence of Black Americans suffering as victims of unjustified and immoral acts of racial discrimination, stereotyping, and inequitable treatment. Historical prejudice, institutionalized imbalance of power and favoritism, lack of interaction with the Black community, and other factors have played roles in the marginalizing and silencing of this population in primatology and are expanded upon through the application of critical race theory (hereinafter referred to as “CRT”). However, thanks to the transparency of study participants, solutions are proposed to help in the unattended issues of diversity and interpersonal conflicts that not only hinder the professional progression of Black Americans but also derail the advancement of primatological research.

Available for download on Saturday, July 14, 2029