Cheryl Johnson-Odim

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Cheryl Johnson-Odim

Cheryl Johnson-Odim is provost of Dominican University and is the former dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Columbia College Chicago.

Dr. Johnson-Odim is an associate editor of Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century African History (Routledge, 2003) and an associate editor of Women Building Chicago 1790-1990: A Biographical Dictionary (Indiana University Press, 2001). She is also the vice-chair of the Illinois Humanities Council and a past chair of the Joan Kelly Prize Committee of the American Historical Association. She is a past member of the boards of directors of the American Council of Learned Societies, the African Studies Association and the advisory board of the Center for Womens and Gender Studies at Rutgers University. She is a founding editorial board member of the Journal of Women’s History.

Prior to her tenure at Columbia College Chicago, Dr. Johnson-Odim served as chairperson of the history department at Loyola University Chicago and taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Northwestern University where she also served as assistant director of the Program of African Studies[1].


Dr. Johnson-Odim holds a doctorate in history from Northwestern University and is a former Fulbright Fellow in Nigeria[2].


She has been active in the women’s rights and civil rights movements and was a founding member of the Free South Africa Movement[3].

Cheryl Johnson-Odim was head of the TransAfrica Support Committee in Chicago. In the early 1980s she was co-chair, with Prexy Nesbitt, of the Coalition for Illinois Divestment from South Africa.[4].

New American Movement 10th convention

Christine Riddiough, Co-Chair, Socialist Feminist Commission; Kate Ellis, Assoc. NAM, NY DSOC; Cheryl Johnson, Program of African Studies, Northwestern U. and Liz Weston, Co-Chair, Socialist Feminist Commission led a workshop entitled Feminist Strategies for the '80's at the 10th Convention of the New American Movement. The convention was held in a union headquarters in Chicago and ran from July 29 - August 2, 1981.[5]

Cuba visit

In late 1985 Cheryl Odim traveled to Cuba. She wrote about the trip for Alice Palmer's New Deliberations magazine.[6] .

Black Press Institute

In 1987 Cheryl Johnson-Odim was on the Board of Directors of the Black Press Institute[7].

Chicago Committee in Solidarity with Southern Africa

In 1989 the Chicago Committee in Solidarity with Southern Africa, Board of Directors consisted of;

Timuel Black, Basil Clunie (co-chair), Earl Durham, Tommie Fry, Judy Hatcher, Tena Johnson, Toni Moore, Cheryl Johnson-Odim, Alice Palmer, Orlando Redekopp, Rachel Rubin (co-chair), Robert Starks, Lucille Teichert, Kevin Thompson, Tim Wright[8].

Black Radical Congress

In March 1998 “Endorsers of the Call” to found a Black Radical Congress included Cheryl Johnson-Odim, Evanston, IL[9].

Chicago Area Friends of SNCC

In 2005 Chicago Area Friends of SNCC organized the "Tell the Story: The Chicago SNCC History Project, 1960-1965" Chicago Area Friends of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Chicago Civil Rights Movement, c. 1960-1965. The event was held October 21-22, 2005 Roosevelt University, Chicago, Illinois.

Members of the advisory committee included Johnson-Odim.[10]

"Support Bill Ayers"

In October 2008, several thousand college professors, students and academic staff signed a statement Support Bill Ayers in solidarity with former Weather Underground Organization terrorist Bill Ayers.

In the run up to the U.S. presidential elections, Ayers had come under considerable media scrutiny, sparked by his relationship to presidential candidate Barack Obama.

We write to support our colleague Professor William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who is currently under determined and sustained political attack...
We, the undersigned, stand on the side of education as an enterprise devoted to human inquiry, enlightenment, and liberation. We oppose the demonization of Professor William Ayers.

Cheryl Johnson-Odim signed the statement.[11]