Profiles / Voices

DR. JAMES L. MOORE III


NFL Here I come… So I Thought!

When his parents did arrive to take him home, Dr. Moore was entrenched in a deep depression. It was his mother who first identified in him the aptitude for compassion and empathy that eventually transitioned him from James Moore, wounded athlete to Dr. Moore, Counselor Educator.

Dr. Moore’s love and respect for his parents is clear – they’re hard work, willingness to sacrifice, and commitment to ensuring he and his siblings were afforded the very best opportunities were tantamount in securing his place in higher education. “Much of what I am and what I’ve yet to become is a reflection of my parents. They have such a strong influence on me.”
Dr. Moore’s research agenda is divided into four distinct, yet interrelated, strands. These strands are the following: (a) studying how educational professionals, such as school counselors, influence the educational/career aspirations and school experiences of students of color (particularly African American males); (b) exploring socio-cultural, familial, school, and community factors that support, enhance, and impede academic outcomes for K-16 African American students; (c) examining recruitment and retention issues of students of color in gifted education and college students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors; and (d) exploring social, emotional, and psychological consequences of racial oppression for African American males and other people of color in various domains in society (e.g., education, counseling, workplace, athletics, etc.).Personal Website: http://people.ehe.ohio-state.edu/jmoore/
Humble Beginnings
As a child growing up in rural South Carolina, Dr. Moore reports that not only was he segregated from whites but he was sequestered from other blacks as well, growing up in an area heavily populated by his paternal relatives. Five generations of Moores occupied adjacent land and while there was substantial isolation, there was also insulation from some of the hurts and injustices other children may have had to endure and the consistent unconditional love of a familial community. Dr. Moore remembers being ever aware of the family’s watchful eyes.
Dr. Moore spent much of his time growing up with his parents who were only seventeen and eighteen years old respectively when they had him. His father was the eldest of seven, who had, in obedience to his own father, foregone college to work the family farm. His mother had nine siblings and began college coursework, but did not complete her degree. For Dr. Moore, college was a requirement that his parents placed on him and his two siblings. They planned and sacrificed in order to provide the opportunity for Dr. Moore and his siblings to be educated out-of-sate. “My dad worked two jobs as a laborer, 100-plus hours a week.” And he was a man of excellence. “He taught me that when you have a family, nothing is beneath you. If he had to dig manure, he would be the number one manure digger, if that’s what he had to do for his family.” In addition to working the family farm, he earned the means to support his family’s lifestyle and send all three kids to college for as long as they wanted to attend.
Dr. Moore also applauds his parents because despite South Carolina’s sub-par public school system, his transition into high education did not find him ill-prepared. He and his siblings had learned the value of a good education, setting goals and working hard toward those goals. The decision to attend Delaware State University wasn’t met without some resistance from other family members. “There was the fear of losing the best we had and possibly not getting us back. But my parents taught me that South Carolina lives inside of you and you don’t necessarily have to live within the boundaries of the state. “
For Dr. Moore, the interesting thing about South Carolina and other poor states like Louisiana and Mississippi that have a large African American population (approximately 30%) is that their histories are wrought with the legacy of slavery and the cotton fields. But according to Dr. Moore, South Carolina has produced arguable some of the most influential African Americans in the country. “Racism is an issue. Always has been, but it’s still the place that I love. It’s where my grandfather and his brother built the village that we hope to sustain.”
Perpetuating the Legacy
An important lesson Dr. Moore learned from his grandfather, who worked more than forty years in the mills, was the courage to stand up and excel. “My great-grandfather never had to go in the back door because he made more money than some of the white farmers.” And it does take courage. In his job as an educator, Dr. Moore works to help develop skills in others. “Education is power,” he says. He’s looking to bridge the link between theory and application, application and the world outside of the classroom – how the pieces fit together. For Dr. Moore, his job is about producing high-quality scholarship and research that could be used to positively improve people’s lives.
For kids, it may be necessary to find better ways to educate them. “In general boys tend to be active learners. They tend to be on the move and easier to engage when there is the stimulus of competition involved. But if we look at the educational system, it hasn’t changed much. We still have those same stationary desks, same old format.” He encourages parents to get their kids involved in programs like TRIO and Upward Bound in the years before college to start the conversation about options in the STEM majors. There are over twelve thousand STEM job categories according the the Bureau of Labor and statistics. Kids need to know the kind of variety that exists. “It’s hard to be interested in something if you’ve never been exposed to it.”
Also, parents need to be aware that there still exists a stigma for high-achieving African American students. For many children, the threat of being socially rejected by other black students is still a very real threat and it’s important that we collectively work toward fortifying accelerated programs so that they more readily meet the needs of African American students who may opt out of altogether or disengage while in accelerated programs because they may not have peers within the program who look like them. The struggle continues to desegregate programs on a wide scale.
But it can be done.

 

EDITED BY SORILBRAN BUCKNER

Best Advice

1) Do the right thing for the right reason. 2) What you put into the ground will come up. So do unto others what you will have them do unto you. And I say that life is “full circle”. I married my high school sweetheart twenty years later.

My Mentors and Why

I do have some and I’ve never declared them as my mentors. I found that the best mentors are the ones that don’t even know it. And when I say that, my parents are my initial mentors in my life you know that’s my first university. I still seek their counsel, if I seek anyone’s counsel. There is an old saying in my household that “you can’t seek everybody’s counsel because everyone is not for you”. But, I also know from my travels that everyone is not against you either. I do have some academic mentors in the academe. Most of my mentors are African American females and white males because there is a shortage of Black males in the academe.

Quotes I Live By

I am a James Baldwin fan and a former English teacher so he wrote a piece “The Fire The Next Time” and I always recommend it to brothers. James Baldwin is writing a letter to his nephew that he turned into a book. And he wrote a piece in there and somehow I see “my vocation as being intricately connected to my image of God”. Vocation in Latin means calling. So I like to think that what I am doing is beyond just getting paid for it. It’s something that I would do if I could for free. In many ways I have… Another one is Benjamin Elijah Mays, he was born in the same county as Strom Thurmond and my grandmother, a place called “96 South Carolina” and some would consider it Greenwood S.C. Dr. Mays, I am sure that many are familiar with him, he said “whatever you do, you do it so good that no man dead, alive or yet to be born can do it better”. That’s a bad brother! Another quote takes me back to W.E.B. Du Bois and he said “how does it feel to be a problem” and in that same text he says “two un reconciled striving: the African versus the American” and when he says that he’s basically saying that the challenges of the 21st century of being a Black person and being an American in the United States of America. DuBois was a brilliant person. We always talk about his brilliance in the intellect but he was struggling with a black society who was settling with second class status and struggling with a white society who thought that they were smarter than him and he thought he was smarter than they were.

Invent One Thing

Something to wake-up the walking dead, this is what the sociologists refer to individuals who did not achieve their dreams. When they wake-up each day, they’re biologically living but, socially they’re dead.

More About

Current
Tenured Professor, College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University
Director at Todd Anthony Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male, The Ohio State University
Coordinator of the School Counseling Program at The Ohio State University

Education
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Ph.D., Counselor Education
1997 – 2000
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
M.A. Ed. Counselor Education
1995-1997
Delaware State University
BA, English Education
1990-1995

Interest
Dr. Moore’s research agenda is divided into four distinct, yet interrelated, strands. These strands are the following: (a) studying how educational professionals, such as school counselors, influence the educational/career aspirations and school experiences of students of color (particularly African American males); (b) exploring socio-cultural, familial, school, and community factors that support, enhance, and impede academic outcomes for K-16 African American students; (c) examining recruitment and retention issues of students of color in gifted education and college students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors; and (d) exploring social, emotional, and psychological consequences of racial oppression for African American males and other people of color in various domains in society (e.g., education, counseling, workplace, athletics, etc.).
Personal Website: http://people.ehe.ohio-state.edu/jmoore/

Book Currently Reading

I am reading many books right now and I guess you could say that I am a connoisseur for social science books. I read anything by William Julius Wilson, sometimes I may go back to class with Du Bois and The Souls of Black Folk, St. Clair Drake, The Black Metropolis. The book that I am having my staff read currently, Jim Collins Books: Good to Great; Built to Last; How the Mighty Fall. Basically these are business books but many other different sectors are beginning to read these books because they have implications to education. These books are studying top companies who are able to sustain profits for over a period of time of ten straight years. He would then find a competitor and find out why those companies did not do well and they did do well. What he found was consistency in alignment and of course he found many other things and what I found and try to tell African American males. First of all many African American males, even some that may appear to be successful has poor “soft skills”: managing their time, communication with people, professionalism. These types of things tend to be very pronounce, they may have high IQ’s but really what I’m finding especially at the college level, some of the reasons why they’re not doing well has nothing to do with their cognitive abilities it has a lot to do with those soft skills. As those who work in corporate America know, those soft skills are really those things that help you accelerate through the corporate ranks.