Dr. Sydney Freeman Jr. has made history.
According to CBS 2 Idaho News, Dr. Sydney Freeman Jr. — a man who is a direct descendant of slaves — has become the first African American man to earn the rank of full professor at the university.
The outlet reports that Freeman achieved the full professorship at the University of Idaho in five years and seven months, on a tenure track. Most professors take an average of 10 to 12 years to achieve the rank of full professor, if they’re even lucky to get on a tenure track.
“If we want to see Idaho grow and be more inclusive, we have to bring that inclusion in and so it’s important for us to not only have conversations about it but actually invest in diversifying faculty and staff but also retaining them,” Dr. Freeman said.
While Dr. Freeman is the first African American to earn the title of a tenured professor at the University of Idaho, there have been other Black men — of African descent — who have achieved this feat.
Humbled to share that I will be the 1st African American (American Descendant of Slaves) man to be promoted to rank of Full Professor at the University of Idaho, the state’s flagship research university. I earned this rank in 5 years and 7 months on tenure track. pic.twitter.com/u2DYzNebsY
— Sydney Freeman Jr. (@DoctorSFJ) March 25, 2021
Ethiopia native Dr. Wudneh Admassu was the first person of African descent to earn the rank of full professor at the University of Idaho. In 2019, Professor Shaakirrah Sanders became and remains the only Black woman to earn the rank of full professor at the University of Idaho.
These celebrations, however, are just surface celebrations — because statistically, only 5 percent of all full-time faculty members at colleges and universities in the United States are Black.