Profile for Richard Breaux

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Specialty area(s)

African American History, African American Studies, Black Students at PWIs, African American Film and Music, Queer Black Studies, African American Sport History, Race and Mental Health in Media, Syrian/Lebanese American History to 1965

Brief biography

I grew up in Oakland, California, and expressed an early interest in the African American history and culture. I collect 78 rpm Jazz, Blues, R&B, and Gospel records and enjoy traveling domestically or internationally with my family.

Current courses at UWL

Introduction to Ethnic and Racial Studies, Introduction to ERS in the Media, 20th Century Civil Rights Movement; History of Black Music, Racial Conflict in the Urban US, Introduction to African American Studies


PhD - University of Iowa
MA - University of Iowa
AB - Dartmouth College

Research and publishing

“ 'Thriving Syrian Community…Equal Partners in Democracy and Liberty' in La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1894-1954" - developing into a book project

Cultural Retention and Assimilation through the Recorded Sounds of the Syrian Antiochian Orthodox Church in the United States, 1915-1961 - in progress.

“‘Daughter[s] of the Race in Competition with the Best Stock in the Land:’ African American Women Athletes at PWIs in the Jim Crow Era, 1900-1940,” – in progress.

“Tireless Partners and Skilled Competitors: Seeing UI’s Black Male Athletes, 1934-1960,” Hill, M., Hill, L. (eds.) Invisible Hawkeyes: Iowa, Integration & the Long Civil Rights Movement. Iowa City, Iowa: University of Iowa Press, 2016, pp. 141-168.

"Bessie, Queer Black Cinema, in the 20th and 21st Centuries and Mining the Harlem Renaissance", The Apollonian 2,2 (2015): 29-48.

"On, Behind, and Ahead of the Curve: The African American Presence at UD and in Iowa" in Ahead of the Curve: The First Century of African American Experiences at the University of Dubuque (pp. 9). Dubuque, Iowa, 2015.

“Fairytales, None of them Came True: Analyzing selected Black Animated Fairytales from Coal Black to Happily Ever After, 1943-2000” in Fairytale Adaptations from Black Cultural Perspectives, eds. Laretta Henderson, Ruth McKoy Lowery, (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2013): 173-185.

“Nooses, Sheets, and Blackface: White Racial Anxiety and Black Student Presence as Power in the Midwest Flagship University, 1882-1936,” Perspectives in the History of Higher Education, 29, (September 2012), 23-43.

“The New Negro Arts & Letters Movement in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska,” in Cary D.
Wintz and Bruce R. Glasrud, The Harlem Renaissance in the West (Routledge, 2012): 121-139.

“After 75 years of Magic…Disney Seeks to Silence Critics, Rewrite African American History and Cash in on its Racist Past,” Journal of African American Studies 14,4 (December 2010): 398-416.

“I’m a Cartoon! The Jackson 5ive Cartoon as Commodified Civil Rights and Black Power Ideologies,” Journal of Pan-African Studies 3, 7 (March 2010): 79-99.

“To the Uplift and Protection of Young Womanhood”: African American Women at Iowa Private Colleges and the University of Iowa, 1878-1928,” History of Education Quarterly 50, 2 (May 2010): 159-181.

“Using the Press to Fight Jim Crow at Two White Midwestern Universities, 1900-1940,” in Eileen H. Tamura, ed. The History of Discrimination in U.S. Education: Marginality, Agency, and Power (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2008), 141-164.

"We Were All Mixed Together: Race, Schooling, and the Legacy of Black Teachers in Buxton, 1900-1920," Annals of Iowa 65, 4 (Fall 2006): 301-328.

"The New Negro Arts and Letters Movement Among Black University Students in the Midwest, 1914-1940,"Great Plains Quarterly (Summer 2004): 147-162.

“‘Maintaining a Home for Girls’: The Iowa Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs at the University of Iowa, 1919-1950,” Journal of African American History 87 (Spring 2002): 236-255.



Richard Breaux, Ethnic & Racial Studies, received the JV Educational Leadership Award at the 18th Annual International Males of Color Empowerment and Retention Conference on Monday, Oct. 5 in Raleigh, NC. JV Educational Consultants receive endorsements about outstanding faculty, staff, and administrators from all over the United States and Dr. Richard Breaux will be honored with the JV Educational Leadership Award for providing outstanding leadership within the field of higher education. JV Educational’s secret nominations focus on educational and enthusiastic technique, contribution to student retention, dedication to his discipline through scholarly advancements, and more. Breaux exemplifies excellence in education. He will receive his honor at our 18th Annual International Males of Color Empowerment and Retention Conference during the dates of October 5-7, 2020. Honorees and their support colleagues who register for the conference will attend at a reduced rate of $375.00.

Submitted on: Mar. 2


Richard Breaux, Ethnic & Racial Studies, presented "Midwest Mahjar: Recovering the Sounds and Stories of Arab American Music and Musicians, 1913-1961" at University of Dubuque Honors Program Lecture Series on Sept. 19, 2019 in Dubuque, Iowa. The presentation examined the songs, musicians, and record labels that symbolized Arab American cultural expression, identity, and self-determination during the first half of the twentieth century.

Submitted on: Oct. 28, 2019


Richard Breaux, CL-279, authored the chapter "Tireless Partners and Skilled Competitors: Seeing UI’s Black Male Athletes, 1934-1960,”" in "Invisible Hawkeyes: Iowa, Integration & the Long Civil Rights Movement. " published on Oct. 12, 2016 by University of Iowa Press.

Submitted on: Oct. 13, 2016


Richard Breaux, Ethnic, Racial Studies, was named co-chair of the La Crosse Area Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration Committee.

Submitted on: Mar. 10, 2016


Richard Breaux, Audrey Elegbede, Bee Lo, Sarah Shillinger and Nicholas Villanueva, all Ethnic and Racial Studies;and Willem Vanroosenbeek, Pride center; presented "Building Better Care" at Building Better Care Lecture Series on Oct. 6, 2015 in La Crosse, WI. The series of lectures and dicussions for health care providers at Gundersen Health System included topics such as ethnonormative ideas of wellness and illness barriers to care, medical pluralism, recognizing belief structures and their impacts on health within a community, identifying strategies to engage treatment stakeholders of the family and recognizing factors that may impact treatment adherence.

Submitted on: Oct. 23, 2015