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Sandra Sandiford Young

associate director, african & african diaspora studies


Ph.D., History, Boston College, 2003
M.A., History, Boston College, 1997
B.A., History, University of Massachusetts, Boston Harbor, 1979


Dr. Sandiford Young joined the staff of the African & African Diaspora Studies at Boston College in 1988 and has served in her current position as Associate Director since 2004. She has been the faculty advisor for a number of students over the years and has taught many classes covering a wide range of topics from Black history in Boston, community relations between Black and Irish communities in Boston and community organization and leadership development. Dr. Sandiford Young's career inside and outside of Boston College has been intensely involved with issues concerning the many diverse communities in and around Boston.

Dr. Sandiford Young's current research interests include an investigation of the development of the black communities of the North between 1825 and 1865 concentrating on issues of abolition, emigration and leadership. She is also interested in contemporary issues in Boston and will be researching the I-95 interchange project in Boston from the 1960s to the 1980s. This federal highway project was stopped by the twenty-year efforts of a coalition of community organizations, neighborhood activists and local politicians, making it the only example of a federal highway project ever stopped by citizen groups. This grassroots success is an extraordinary example of cooperation that spans the time of the civil rights marches and school busing crisis in Boston, giving an entirely different picture of what Boston was actually like during this period.

Conferences, Papers, and Presentations

  • "A Moment in Time: The Birth of the National Black Agenda", Black History Workshop, University of Houston, Texas.
  • "The Cultural Implications of Prominent African Americans: A Case Study of Whoopi Goldberg", Bates College, Lewiston, Maine.
  • "The Black and Irish Connection", Basic Black, PBS, Discussion of Black and Irish relationships in Boston from Irish immigration period to present.
  • "A Moment In Time: The Development of a National Black Agenda", Project GYRO Colloquia, Boston College
  • Project Coordinator, Blacks In Boston VI: The Caribbean Connection Conference, Boston College, February 22-24.
  • "Building A Movement: History Developing Leadership", Civil Rights Movement Symposium, Ashland High School.
  • "Reaching Across The Divide", AHANA Leadership Retreat, Boston College.
  • "Out of Africa: An Abbreviated Review of the History and Cultures of West Africa", guest lecturer for course "Survey of African American Societies", Boston College.
  • Moderator, "Northern Industrial Response to Abolition", 12th Lowell Conference on Industrial History: The Meaning of Slavery in the North.
  • Working member of the National Historic Park Committee on Slavery's Impact on the Industrial Revolution.
  • "A Different Journey: A Discussion of John Brown Russwurm", Project GYRO, Boston College
  • "Black Women Leaders, Then and Now" at Boston University Black Women's Organization Annual Membership Meeting.


  • "The Dilemma: Citizenship or Emigration, John Brown Russwurm" in Prophets of Protest: Reconsidering the History of American Abolitionism, Timothy Patrick McCarthy and John Stauffer, eds. (New Press 2006).
  • "A Different Journey: A Discussion of John Brown Russwurm" in In Celebration of Black History Month: Colloquium Papers, Boston College 1992.
  • "Massachusetts Succeeds in Halting Georges Bank Lease Sale" in National Wetlands Newsletter, Vol. 5, no. 5 (Washington, D.C., Sept-Oct, 1983).
  • "Local Coastal Management Assistance", with Larry McCavitt in CZM Information Exchange (Washington, D.C., April 30, 1982).
  • "Plan for Everyone" in Building the ARC through Membership, (Arlington, TX, 1980).

Works in Progress

  • The I-95 highway project: Boston is the only city where community activists were able to stop a federal highway project.
  • Book length study of the oral history of Caribbean Blacks and their descendents in the Greater Boston area. A project of the Boston College Blacks In Boston VI: The Caribbean Connection Conference