The Center for Research, Engagement and Collaboration in African American Life (RECAAL) was launched in Fall of 2020, rooting its work in the experiences of black people in the U.S. Our efforts are conceptually framed around two unrelated terms: to recall and to recalibrate.

To “recall” is to bring a fact or event back into one’s mind so as to recount it to others. But recalling also entails a resetting of order by bringing someone out of a state of inattention into a present state of things. This last definition offers the most useful cord connecting the two concepts. To “recalibrate” is to calibrate a machine for a different or expanded function. The Center for RECAAL understands recalibration as a means of resetting order through active strategic engagement with an array of social and cultural realities to expand opportunities for black self-actualization and expression.

Recalling and recalibrating focuses our attention on the mechanical structure of the issues we will address.

As a part of the Wake Forest University community, RECAAL will:

  • Focus on research that recalls the complexity, brilliance, and creativity of African American life,
  • Encourage cooperative engagement across disciplines to produce innovative research that recalibrates conventional ideas about African American life, and
  • Cultivate partnerships with local community members to promote positive changes in Black communities.

As director, I envision the Center for RECAAL to be an incubator of ideas promoting awareness about the diverse experiences of Black people in this country. It is both an academic resource center serving our intellectual community, as well as a center promoting strategic collaboration. I see this work as vital to Wake Forest University more fully living out its motto: Pro Humanitate.