New course on Black beauty available for spring

Dr. Brown-Pellum poses in front of Tucker Hall.
Photo Credit: @thehistoryconsultants(Ph.D. Kimberly Brown-Pellum)Instagram.

Florida A&M’s College of Social Sciences Arts and Humanities recently approved a new course titled Black Beauty: Women’s Images and National Identity for spring 2024 The professor for the course, Dr. Kimberley Brown-Pellum, announced the news on Instagram.

“The Department of History at FAMU is the most innovative and student-focused in the world,” Brown-Pellum stated in the caption of her post. “The faculty continues its legacy of framing historical study as a compass that ‘tells people where they have been, what they have been, where they are and what they are, where they still must go and what they still must be.’”

Brown-Pellum, a two-time FAMU alumna, provided a deeper insight into what the course is about and her inspiration for proposing it.

“The Department of History at Florida A&M has always centered the African experience in the Americas,” Brown-Pellum explained. “And I thought it was extremely important to center beauty culture as a part of our course offerings. Our relationship to beauty and our contributions to the beauty culture space have certainly been defining in our experience in this nation,”

As a student and former Miss FAMU, it “meant the world,” to Brown-Pellum to return and educate students following her same footsteps.

Dr. Brown-Pellum has written multiple books focused on black women’s excellence and achievement. She published a book in 2020 titled ‘Black Beauties: African American Pageant Queens in the Segregated South’, highlighting the pioneering of black women in pageantry amid racial turmoil.

“I wrote the book, ‘Black Beauties, African American pageant queens in the segregated South’ as a record and as a testimony of black institutions that regardless of segregation, regardless of racial climate, that black women were important enough to be crowned,” Brown-Pellum said.

She continued, saying the book not only teaches from a professor standpoint but from the perspective of somebody who has dedicated her career to centering the voices of black women and someone who “enjoyed the ways in which black institutions continue to affirm women of color in the ways in which the outside world continues to fail to do so.”

Brown-Pellum believes the course, Black Beauty: Women’s Images and National Identity, is important in understanding the role black women have in society while also examining the root cause of why black women’s roles are undermined.

“American racism, both in practice and theory, has always linked human value to ridiculous notions of physical health and beauty,” Brown-Pellum clarifies.  “It has used white women as ornamental benchmarks to underscore the idea of superiority. And on the other hand, racism requires women of African descent to be marked by labels of promiscuity, ugliness and worthlessness.

After being pleasantly surprised at the positive feedback of the course from her followers, she hopes that students will actively engage in the course while also celebrating and being aware of the “incredible sacrifices, losses, fight, wins, creativity, and the resilience,” that came from previous generations.


The course is available when registration for the spring 2024 semester begins next week on Monday, October 16.