In 2020 Emorja Roberson, a doctoral student in the University of Notre Dame’s Sacred Music at Notre Dame program, started “Black@ND,” a podcast in which Black students and alumni share their experiences on campus.
Roberson said his experience in his first few years at Notre Dame led him to create “Black@ND.” “Understanding where I fit into this broad Notre Dame experience was a challenge in the beginning,” he said. “As I began to come into myself as a Black student on campus, and also a musician, I started diving into some different territories. And then I stepped a little bit further. That’s when I established ‘Black@ND’ to dive into some deep waters, not just for students that look like me and have some similar experiences, but also to challenge the University to do better with what they say that they need to do.”
For Black History Month, the podcast is doing a series called Black Facts. Roberson and co-hosts Daut’e Martin and Euda Fils highlight important Black figures and events each episode.
“With Black Facts, I wanted something that not only helped me, because I’m still finding out about a lot of people and I just turned 30. There are people on Notre Dame’s campus who didn’t get Black history in schools. I mean, I got very limited information,” Roberson said. “So I said let me help those who are in my community and challenge them to do research. Just to sort of go into some unfamiliar territories and just read.”
Roberson said they are especially focused on highlighting lesser-known Black people in history, “not just the Martin Luther King Jrs. and the Malcolm X’s.”
“There’s nothing wrong with them, it’s just sometimes people feel like they’ve done their job once they mark off those two people,” he said. “I mean, like Rosa Parks, some people don’t know before Rosa Parks, there was Claudette Colvin, so little things like that are very important.”
As Roberson looks toward the end of his academic career at Notre Dame, he anticipates “Black@ND” will continue. “Next month we’re going to be putting up a call for the upcoming school year, because I want this to continue,” he said. “So that way people can always have a space where conversations that are transparent can be had on the air.”