Coppin State University

Constitution Day


Speaker Bios

Joseph L. Tucker Edmonds

Joseph L. Tucker Edmonds is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Africana Studies at Indiana University’s School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and the Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and Economics from Brown University, his Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and his PhD in Religious Studies from Duke University.

Professor Tucker Edmonds’ research interests are black and womanist theologies, alternative Christianities in the black Atlantic, and the role of scripture in African and African American religious traditions. Joseph has received grants from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning, the Fund for Theological Education, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. His most recent scholarship has focused on the relationship between alternative Christian movements and the Black body with a recent article entitled “The Canonical Black Body: Alternative African American Religions and the Disruptive Politics of Sacrality” in the journal Religions. In addition to his focus on African and African American Christian traditions, Tucker Edmonds is a noted teacher and an engaged scholar. He serves as the president of the local Indianapolis branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), is a member of the editorial board of the Wabash Center’s Journal on Teaching, and is currently leading a community-engaged project that is studying the impact of COVID-19 on Black arts and cultural institutions in Indianapolis.

Tucker Edmonds’ upcoming book, The Other Black Church: Alternative Christian Movements and the Struggle for Black Freedom, will be published in the fall of 2020. This book highlights the variety and vibrancy of the African American Christian sphere during the latter half of the twentieth century, and it adds to the growing body of work that is addressing alternative Christian traditions, the reorganization of the black public sphere during the twentieth century, and the importance of alternative Christian traditions in shaping the terms of freedom and citizenship in the larger African American community.

Dr. Ida D. Jones

Dr. Ida E. Jones is the University Archivist at Morgan State University. She administers the Beulah M. Davis Room which houses the university archives along special collections of rare books and manuscript collections. While not ta Morgan, she is adjunct faculty at Lancaster Bible College. She is a newly appointed Board member of the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center, as well as, a Board member of the National Collaborative of Women’s History sites. She is serving her second year as co-vice president of the Baltimore City Historical Society.

Her publications include four books, a variety of encyclopedia entries and an online exhibition. Her most recent work Baltimore Civil Rights Leader Victorine Q. Adams the Power of the Ballot is the first biographical work on Victorine Adams, the first African American woman elected to the Baltimore City Council. Finally, Dr. Jones is a consummate scholar who believes deeply in the words of Mrs. Mary McLeod Bethune who stated “power must walk hand in hand with humility and the intellect must have a soul.”

Dr. Claudia D. Nelson

I am a native of Bronx, New York, and a twice graduate of Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia with a Doctorate in Political Science and Master’s in African American Studies, May 2007 and May 2000, respectively. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Lehman College, C.U.N.Y. in Bronx, New York in 1989.

I have been on the faculty of Coppin State University an HBCU in Baltimore, Maryland since 2008. I am a tenured Associate Professor of Political Science and Chairperson of the Department of Applied Social and Political Sciences. I have held many positions in organizations in which I am a member. Professionally, in the last decade, I have been selected to be a fellow and participant in highly regarded leadership programs. Most recently I am an inaugural Anchor Institution 2020 Fellow. I was named a 2017-2018 American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow. In 2012 I was selected to participate in the H.E.R.S. Denver Summer Institute and in 2010 for the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) Women of Color Leadership Project.

As a scholar-activist I strongly believe in the merger of intellectual work and activism and use my experiences as an example of an engaged life that purpose to encourage my students’ participation in the political process and prepare them to be leaders and scholars in the ever-changing global socio-political environment.

As a political scientist, I engage in teaching, research and service grounded in the intersectionality of race, gender and class as they inform the lives and lived experiences of women of color. My dissertation, “African American Women’s Activism Under-girded by Sisterhood: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., A Legacy of Social and Political Action, 1913 – 2006,” was the foundation for the book, Advocacy in Action: 100 Years of Social Action in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. published by DREF for Delta’s Centennial celebration.

I believe those who teach must lead by example. My community activism and volunteer service over the past twenty-five years have been dynamic training grounds in this area. I have worked with people and organizations from the grassroots level to local and state government levels to the United Nations. Service to the community has been an invaluable part of my education. As a scholar I strongly believe in the merger of intellectual work and activism. I propose to increase interest in and generate discourse surrounding the intersectionality of race and gender as they inform the lives and lived experiences of women of color. It is my goal as an educator, scholar and researcher to engender a greater understanding, appreciation, and respect for the indubitable contributions African American women have and continue to make to the broad socio-political landscape.

My personal and professional interests and activities have always manifested within two major arenas – community service and social action. I cannot separate my interest for the well-being of my community from my research interests. As a scholar I strongly believe in the tradition of African American women’s merger of intellectual work and activism; therefore, my community service is directly tied to my love for an engaged life. Through the coordination of public forums and workshops it is always the goal to engage students, activists, and community members in dialogue about social, political and economic issues that touches the very fabric of their lives and cause them to act.

What has been most rewarding in the area of service has been my opportunity to serve in advancing the educational pursuit of children in Ghana, West Africa. What I am most proud of is God’s favor on me to use me as a conduit in this work. It was through the Marietta-Roswell Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. that I was able to facilitate the fundraising for the construction of Redemption School Complex Elementary and Junior High School in Ghana, West Africa (2013-2016). My goal was to raise $10,000.00 which was not only accomplished, but was exceeded by 30%. A positive consequence of our contributions was the economic impact it had on the village because members were employed to make the bricks and build the structure. In May 2016 I was blessed to lead a delegation of 20 people (one of whom was an alumna of Coppin who had traveled to Ghana with me as a student in 2014) to attend the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the school. The school services five villages and over 300 students. My Delta Chapter has established a scholarship for 25 young ladies. In May 2020 I will be returning to Ghana to establish an advisory board for the school and a fellowship program for the teachers.

My greatest achievements have been my daughter and grandson! I am a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the National Conference of Black Political Scientists, the National Women’s Studies Association, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, and the American Political Science Association. My favorite hobbies are traveling, dancing and cooking. Above all, I am a daughter of the Most High God.

Dr. Jacqueline Rhoden-Trader

Dr. Jacqueline Rhoden-Trader is an applied social science researcher and policy analyst with specialization in the field of criminology. Having worked in both the private and public sectors, Dr. Rhoden-Trader brings creativity, sensitivity, and a wealth of experience in the areas of policy analysis, research and evaluation, systems and program development and training. She is passionate about enhancing the life chances of individuals, particularly women, children and youth and possess over 26 years of direct service, leadership and teaching experience working with and on behalf of those deemed “disadvantaged.” In addition, she has conducted qualitative and quantitative research on disadvantaged populations, written several articles which were published in scholarly journals, trained thousands of individuals nationally and internationally. Specific research interests include race, ethnic and gender disparities across the globe, human trafficking, at-risk/disadvantaged youth, and crime and delinquency prevention with geo-spatial analysis, and youth development policy.

Dr. Rhoden-Trader serves as chairperson and associate professor of Criminal Justice in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences’ Criminal Justice department at Coppin State University and advisor to the Criminal Justice Honor Society Alpha Phi Sigma, Nu Zeta Chapter. She also serves as an NGO consultant/representative and presenter at the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women and Girls annually since 2012. Furthermore, she presented a webinar entitled “Human Trafficking in Ghana” in 2013 and has two book chapters on violence against women and girls/human trafficking in the Caribbean and Geospatial Aspects of Crime in the Caribbean.

A graduate of Western High School in Baltimore, she received her Bachelors of Arts degree in Modern Languages and Linguistics from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, an Honors University, Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Coppin State College, Baltimore, Maryland and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Policy Sciences from The Union Institute, Cincinnati, Ohio. She was also a visiting fellow of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institute (1999), Fellow in Residence at the Oxford Roundtable on Criminal Law, Oxford University, UK (2006), and recipient of numerous awards including induction to the Baltimore City Commission for Women Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Caribbean Association of Maryland’s UNIA Marcus Garvey Award in the same year. Furthermore, Dr. Rhoden-Trader is a member of the Caribbean Crime Study Group, a division of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and The American Society of Criminology. Born and reared in Bartons, St. Catherine, Jamaica, she enjoys running, cycling, spinning, gardening, and traipsing for antiques and collectibles.