Beverly Daniel Tatum

Spelman College

Scholar, teacher, author, administrator and race relations expert, Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum became the ninth president of Spelman College in 2002. Dr. Tatum retired in July of 2015 as President Emerita to focus on her work as an author, speaker and expert on issues related to racial identity.

Dr. Tatum is the former acting president of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, where she served as a professor of psychology and education and later as chair of the Department. In 1998, Dr. Tatum was appointed Dean of the College and Vice President for Student Affairs. While in that position, she directed the offices of the Dean of Students, Religious and Spiritual Life, Career Development and Health Services. She also managed the academic advising system and advocated for students’ interests among faculty and senior staff. Prior to serving at Mount Holyoke, Dr. Tatum was a faculty member at Westfield State College from 1983-1989 and a lecturer at the University of California at Santa Barbara from 1980-1983. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Wesleyan College and Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan, as well as the Master of Arts degree in religious studies from Hartford Seminary.

A nationally recognized authority on racial issues in America and a licensed clinical psychologist, she has toured extensively, leading workshops and presenting papers and lectures on racial identity development. Dr. Tatum is the author of the critically acclaimed book, Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race, which was released as a fifth anniversary edition in January 2003. Since its original publication in 1997, the book has been listed on the Independent Bookstore Bestseller list and was selected as the multicultural book of the year in 1998 by the National Association of Multicultural Education. The New York Times recommended the book as required reading for private school teachers and administrators in the greater New York area who were dealing with issues of race and class. Dr. Tatum is also the author of Assimilation Blues: Black Families in a White Community (1987) and has published widely in social science and education journals. In May 2007, Dr. Tatum released Can We Talk About Race?: And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation.


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