Advancing Social Justiceresearch & change

About Us

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund  (TMCF) created the Dr. N. Joyce Payne Center for Social Justice (CSJ) to serve as a nexus in advancing social justice for Black Americans. CSJ is a national think tank and research center, rooted in the African American community, drawing together top HBCU scholars, national thought leaders, community advocates and on-the-ground solution-makers to identify, evaluate and scale new evidenced-based programs and policies designed to create sustainable change to the fabric of Black life in American society.

Creating a New Paradigm for Social Justice

Social injustice is deeply embedded in policies and practices in every level of government and industry. It not only costs lives, it continues to diminish educational and economic opportunities for millions of African Americans and…Read More

Payne Center Advisory Committee

Congress Woman Alma Adams


Committee Chair

Dr. Alma S. Adams was elected to her fourth full term representing the 12th Congressional District of North Carolina on November 3, 2020. After winning a special election in November 2014, Congresswoman Adams was sworn in immediately as the 100th woman elected to the 113th

Congress.

Representative Adams serves on the Committee on Financial Services; Committee on Education & Labor and the Committee on Agriculture. She holds several leadership roles; as Assistant Whip for the Democratic Caucus, Chairwoman of the Committee on Education & Labor’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections and Vice Chairwoman of the Committee on Agriculture. Representative Adams’s subcommittee assignments, in addition to Workforce Protections, include Civil Rights and Human Services Committee on Education and Labor; Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations on Agriculture, and the Oversight and Investigations on Financial Services. Her signature legislative accomplishment in Congress is the enactment of H.R. 5363, the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act that permanently provides funding totaling $255 million a year for all Minority-Serving Institutions, including $85 million for HBCUs.

Pamela Alexander


Pamela Alexander is Director of Community Development for Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company.

She leads Ford Fund’s community engagement and outreach strategies and initiatives with key nonprofit organizations throughout

the U.S., including Ford Fund’s nationally recognized teen driving program, Driving Skills for Life, multicultural and women’s initiatives and education and community development programs.

Signature programs developed under the leadership of Ms. Alexander also include HerImpact, a program that provides grants to emerging female social entrepreneurs; the Men of Courage initiative which seeks to promote positive narrative and recognize the accomplishments of African-American Men; and Ford 1st Gen, an innovative educational initiative aimed at increasing the graduation rates of first-generation college students. Since it was founded, Ford Fund has invested nearly $2.0 billion in nonprofit programs and initiatives that empower people, increase social mobility and build communities.

Ms. Alexander’s experience also includes policy development on strategic issues such as the environment and privacy. She has worked on legislative and community issues at the state level and has served as Ford’s governmental affairs manager for the Southeast Michigan region.  She has served on various nonprofit boards including the GRAMMY Museum Foundation, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the NAACP Foundation, the Memorial Foundation, the National Civil Rights Museum and the Dean’s Advisory Committee of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

A native “Michigander,” Ms. Alexander holds a bachelor’s from Georgetown University and a master’s degree from Columbia University.

Jay Augustine


The Reverend Dr. Jonathan C. Augustine (a/k/a “Jay Augustine”) is a pastor and professor, as well as an author and advocate. He is part of a group of national social justice leaders who speak for the equality of all human beings, while advocating for policies of diversity, inclusion, and belonging.

As a pastor, Dr. Augustine has earned a well-deserved reputation for bringing the church into the community and community into the church, in addressing pressing social issues. Since May 2019, he has served as the senior pastor of St. Joseph AME Church (Durham, NC), while simultaneously serving, since January 2017, as the general chaplain of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Since his appointment to St. Joseph, new ministries have been birthed and many new members have joined the congregation, as it developed an outward-facing social justice focus. In addition to Dr. Augustine’s powerful prophetic preaching, under his leadership, St. Joseph has welcomed numerous social justice icons, including Vice President Kamala Harris, Reverend Dr. William J. Barber, II, Honorable Andrew Young, and Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Sr. Prior to serving St. Joseph, Dr. Augustine was senior pastor at Historic St. James AME Church, in downtown New Orleans, the city’s first predominately Black, Protestant church and the denomination’s oldest congregation in the Deep South.

Augustine is also a law professor and reconciliation scholar. Prior to his current service, at North Carolina Central University Law School, he taught as an adjunct professor at Southern University Law Center. His scholarly publications, on issues like immigration reform, environmental justice, and voting rights, appear in journals including the Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal, Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal, Louisiana Law Review, Loyola Law Review, and the Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal. His writings have also been cited by the Louisiana Supreme Court in published opinion. Dr. Augustine currently serves as a missional strategist with the Duke University Center for Reconciliation.

Prior to becoming a law professor, Augustine served as a nationally noted civil rights litigator. He successfully litigated and settled one of the oldest school desegregation cases in the United States, originally litigated by Thurgood Marshall, before his appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. In working as of counsel with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, Augustine also co-authored an amicus curie brief filed with the United States Supreme Court in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee (2021), a case brought under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He is a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association, and admitted to practice law before several federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court.

Augustine is the recipient of many notable awards, including President Barack Obama’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2016), the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. “Outstanding Alumni Brother of the Year” Award (2017), Ten Outstanding Young Americans Award (2004) and Ebony Magazine’s “30 Leaders of the Future” (2001). He earned a B.A., in economics, from Howard University, before serving as a decorated, active-duty infantry officer in the United States Army. Immediately after his military service, Dr. Augustine earned his law degree from Tulane University and served as a law clerk to then-Associate Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson at the Louisiana Supreme Court. After holding publicly elected and gubernatorially appointed office in Louisiana, he accepted the calling to ordained ministry and earned his Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary, before completing a fellowship for further study at Princeton Theological Seminary. Augustine also earned his doctorate from Duke University.

Dr. Jonathan C. Augustine serves as an elected member of the Judicial Council (Supreme Court) of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and is married to Michelle Burks Augustine. Together, they have two children.

Shelley Broderick


Katherine S. Broderick served as interim and then Dean of the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law from August 1998 until June 2018, having previously served as Clinical Director, Associate Dean and faculty member since 1979. In 2011, she was named the Joseph L. Rauh, Jr. Chair of Social Justice.

Professor Broderick began her academic career as a clinical faculty member. She directed the Criminal Defense Clinic at the Antioch School of Law for ten years representing more than 2,000 individuals charged with crimes in the Superior and District Courts of the District of Columbia. She also co-directed the Legislation Clinic for four years, supervising students working primarily on health and safety, environmental justice and criminal justice legislation with the D.C. Council. She has taught Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Professional Responsibility, State and Local Government Law, First Amendment Demonstration Law, and a seminar, “Perspectives on Social Justice.” She taught in Harvard Law School’s Trial Advocacy Workshop, in the Fall Semester, for many years. Professor Broderick received the 2020 “Thurgood Marshall Award,” “in recognition of her exemplary legal career dedicated to service in the public interest, in the pursuit of equal justice and opportunity for all Americans,” from the D.C. Bar; the 2018 ”Potter Stewart Award” from the Council for Court Excellence; the 2017 “Heman Sweatt Award” from the National Bar Association; and the 2016 “Education and Leadership Award,” from the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund. She has also received the 2015 “Effective Force in Service of the People Award” from the D.C. Chapter of the National Lawyers’ Guild “in recognition of outstanding leadership” and the 2009 “Deborah L. Rhode Award” from the Association of American Law Schools ‘in recognition of her work to increase pro bono and public service opportunities in law schools.” She was honored with the “Servant of Justice Award” by the Legal Aid Society in 2005. Professor Broderick received the “National Equal Justice Works Outstanding Law School Dean Award” in 2002, and the “William Pincus Award” for “Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Legal Education” given by the Association of American Law Schools in 1999. She was named a Fellow of the American Bar Association in 2000.

Howard Henderson


Howard Henderson, PhD, is the Founding Director of the Center for Justice Research and professor of justice administration in the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs. Dr. Henderson is currently evaluating the Bureau of Justice Assistance and Mental Health Collaboration Program funded project with the Harris County

Mental Health Jail Diversion Program designed to implement and expand community-based services to individuals with behavioral health issues through information sharing between the criminal justice system and community service providers. He is also serving as the chair of the MacArthur Foundation funded Houston Racial/Ethnic Disparities Committee Data Workgroup and is also leading a research team in a large scale evaluation of the Houston Police Department Body Camera Program. Dr. Henderson received his BS in criminal justice administration from Middle Tennessee State University, his masters of criminal justice from Tennessee State University, and his PhD in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University.

Meldon Hollis


Meldon S. Hollis, Jr., Professor at Savannah State University; former Associate Director of White House Initiative on HBCUs, currently serves as Associate Director at the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Within the office his focus is on STEM initiatives, international programs, and emergency management. He

comes to the Initiative from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) where he had worked since September 2005.

At FEMA, he served in various positions, including Coordinator for Intergovernmental Affairs in the External Affairs Division, Program Officer in the Individual Assistance Division and Program Officer in the Policy and Procedures Branch of the Public Assistance Division. Meldon has held senior governmental positions at the municipal, state and federal levels. He has served as Vice President for University Relations at Texas Southern University, and as a university administrator at Harvard University and the University of Maryland at College Park. He has taught on the faculties of Northeastern University, the College Park and Baltimore County campuses of the University of Maryland and Howard University. Prior to joining FEMA, Meldon taught Government and Political Science at Howard University. Over a 35-year work history, Meldon has served in the Army Security Agency; as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Education in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare; as Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities; as an attorney; and as a business consultant. In 1965, while serving as an enlisted man in the Army, Meldon received a presidential nomination to, and attended, the United States Military Academy at West Point. He holds an M.A. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland at College Park, Maryland and a J.D. and M.P.A. from Harvard University. He has studied international law and indigenous courts at the University of Legon in Ghana, West Africa.

Representative Harold M. Love, Jr.


Harold Moses Love Jr. is a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, for the 58th District. He is the House Democratic assistant leader and Vice President of The National Black Caucus of State Legislators. Love’s father, Harold Moses Love Sr., was a Nashville city councilman from 1962 to 1970 and a member of the Tennessee

House of Representatives for the 54th District from 1968 to 1994.

Love began serving in the Tennessee House of Representatives for the 58th District in 2012. He serves on the following House Committees: Education, State Government, Consumer and human resources. In addition he serves on the Tennessee Advisory Commission for Intergovernmental Relations(TACIR) and the Tennessee Second Look Commission.

Love was ordained by the African Methodist Episcopal Church (A.M.E.) Church in 1999 and was assigned to Pastor Hopewell A.M.E. Church in Columbia, Tennessee. From October 2002 to November 2016, he was the pastor of St. Paul A.M.E. Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and in 2015 was also the Presiding Elder of the South Nashville District of the A.M.E. Church. On November 21, 2016, he was appointed pastor of Lee Chapel A.M.E. Church in Nashville, Tennessee.

Dr. Derryn E. Moten


Derryn E. Moten is a professor of history and the chair of the History and Political Science Department at Alabama State University.

Moten received a graduate degree in Library Science from Catholic University of America and his doctorate in American Studies from

the University of Iowa. He serves as a local co-president for the American Federation of Teachers and is vice chair of the AFT Higher Education Policy and Planning Council.

Moten recently wrote a new introduction to Dr. L. D. Reddick’s “Crusader Without Violence: A Biography of Martin Luther King Jr.,” the first biography of MLK Jr.

He lives in Montgomery, Alabama.

N. Joyce Payne


Dr. N. Joyce Payne founded the nationally recognized Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) in 1987. The TMCF is designed exclusively for exceptional students at the nation’s 47 publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). In 2008-2009, she served as Executive Director of the National Alliance for Public Trust, a new

organization committed to advancing principled leadership in American institutions. She accepted this position following her retirement as Vice President, Office for the Advancement of Public Black Colleges and Council of Student Affairs of the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities (APLU) in cooperation with the American Association of State Colleges & Universities (AASCU).

Before joining OAPBC, Payne was the president of Global Systems, Inc. and was a senior staff member under the Carter administration with the President’s Advisory Committee for Women; President’s National Advisory Council on Women’s Education Programs, and the White House Conference on Families. She taught at the former Federal City College and at George Washington University.

An authority on women’s issues in relation to higher education and labor force participation, Payne has published and presented a number of papers on the pursuit of equality for women and African-Americans in higher education.

Payne received a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology from the former District of Columbia Teachers College and earned her master’s and doctorate degrees in education from the former Atlanta University. In 2012, she received a Heritage Award from Alcorn State University for her contributions to the School of Agriculture. She also received a Presidential Medal from Delaware State University and has received honorary doctorates from Lincoln University of Missouri, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, Kentucky State University, and University of the District of Columbia and in 2012 from Central State University. She was inducted into the District of Columbia’s Hall of Fame and the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame. She served on the Board of Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia for nine years and served for two years as chair of the Board. She serves on the board of directors of TMCF and formerly on the national board of AARP and chaired the AARP Foundation. She served on the distinguished Foreign Service Performance Evaluation Boards at the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Commerce. She has traveled extensively in Africa, Asia, South America and Europe and recently conducted a fact-finding mission in Singapore; China; Malaysia; Stellenbosch, South Africa and Taiwan.

Patricia Tyson


Retired Director of Community Support Department, Service Employees International Union

Meredith R. Weisel


Meredith R. Weisel currently serves as the Senior Associate Regional Director at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Washington, D.C. Regional Office. Her operations portfolio includes legislative advocacy and coalitions, law enforcement training, community engagement, and incident response.

Meredith is an experienced attorney and government relations professional who has spent decades engaged in public policy and community issues in the Greater Washington area. In addition, she serves on the Montgomery County Commission for Women and is active on committees at her synagogue Shaare Torah. Prior to joining ADL, Meredith served as the Director of Maryland Government and Community Relations for the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington. During her time at the JCRC she helped to advance legislative priorities that focused on advocating for strengthening hate crimes laws, confronting and educating about anti-Semitism, securing security funds for houses of worship, schools and childcare centers at-risk of hate crimes, enhancing Holocaust education, and more. Weisel holds a B.A. from American University and a J.D. from the Widener University School of Law. She lives with her husband, Michael, their 2 daughters, and 1 dog in North Potomac, Maryland.

Harry L. Williams


Harry L. Williams serves as President & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. TMCF’s 47 member-schools make up the publicly supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) which

represent nearly 300,000 students.

Under his leadership, TMCF has focused on creating innovative partnerships, increasing organizational sustainability, and advancing bipartisan advocacy.

As a strategic thinker and visionary, Williams has announced unique global partnerships with some of the nation’s most recognized corporations and brands such as The Boeing Company, Gucci, and Hennessy USA. He has also successfully reimagined long-term partnerships with organizations such as Booz Allen Hamilton, Lowe’s, the NBA, and Wells Fargo, cementing TMCF as the premier source of major employers seeking top diverse talent for competitive internships and corporate careers.

Previously, Williams enjoyed a successful eight-year tenure as President of Delaware State University, increasing student enrollment and forging new public/private multi-million dollar partnerships, grants, and investments into the campus. He has received many awards and accolades for his career in higher education, and previously held senior positions at the University of North Carolina General Administration, Appalachian State University, and North Carolina A&T State University. Dr. Williams earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Appalachian State University, a Doctorate from East Tennessee State University, and is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Most importantly, he is a family man. His wife, Dr. Robin S. Williams, and he are the proud parents of two grown sons, Austin and Gavin. Austin and his wife Reagan both graduated from Howard University and Gavin is a current Howard University scholar-athlete.

Payne Center Staff

Xavier Buck, Ph.D.


Research Fellow

Dr. Xavier Buck is the Deputy Director of the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation, a nonprofit that has preserved and promoted the legacy of the Black Panther Party for over 25 years. Prior to joining the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Dr. Buck was a fellow at Prosperity Now, the Education Trust – West, and the Digital Equity Initiative at the City

& County of San Francisco, where he conducted research on racial equity gaps, wrote policy and designed innovative programs for building Black and Brown wealth. Encouraged by the impact he made through these fellowships, he started Xavier Buck Research Ventures, LLC to continue supporting nonprofits, policy companies, and government agencies in their quest to advance Black economic growth through data-driven research. At the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation, he directs public art installations, manages public-private partnerships, leads strategic planning, designs curriculum, among many other things.

Dr. Buck earned his B.A. in history from St. John’s University (Queens) and his Ph.D. in history from the University of California Berkeley. As an undergraduate, he led the largest student movement in the history of the university which led to the hiring of thirteen faculty of color and a chief diversity officer, the establishment of an inclusivity counseling center, the introduction of a required course on microaggressions, and a legacy of strong Black and Brown leadership. Dr. Buck has always believed that what we learn in the classroom is applicable to sustaining movements for Black lives and continues to blend his organizing and educational pursuits.

Sara Partridge, Ph.D.


Research Fellow

Sara Partridge received her Ph.D. in English from New York University, where she studied the history of social justice movements in early American literature. Prior to joining the Thurgood Marshall College Fund as a Research Fellow through the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Leading Edge program, she served as a Postdoctoral

Teaching Fellow in the New York University College Core Curriculum.

As a college instructor, she developed a passion for pedagogy, student success, and equity and inclusion in higher education. She has professional experience in book publishing and at non-profit organizations, and earned her B.A. in English magna cum laude from Columbia University.

WHO WAS JUSTICE THURGOOD MARSHALL?

Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice, speak out, because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on.

- Thurgood Marshall

A lawyer, civil rights activist and the first African American U.S. Supreme Court justice, Thurgood Marshall advocated for equality, justice, social change, and above all, education. He is best known for helping to win the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in 1954 that ended legal segregation in America’s public schools.Linda Brown (left) was at the center of the landmark Supreme Court case “Brown v. the Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas” that desegregated schools in the U.S.

Born in Baltimore July 2, 1908, the grandson of a slave, his original name was “Thoroughgood,” but he shortened it to “Thurgood” in second grade.

Marshall attended Baltimore’s Frederick Douglass High School and Lincoln University in Pennsylvania where he was a member of the first Black fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Marshall couldn’t attend the University of Maryland School of Law because of the school’s segregation policy. Later, as a civil rights lawyer, he sued the school for this policy in 1935 and won, ending segregation at the school in Murray v. Pearson.

After graduating first in his class from the Howard University School of Law in 1933, he opened a private practice law firm in Baltimore where he argued a record-breaking 32 cases before the Supreme Court, winning 29 of them. He fought the State of Maryland for equal pay for Black schoolteachers who were receiving the same salary as janitors.

At the age of 32, Marshall won his first U.S. Supreme Court Case, Chambers v. Florida, and later that year, he was named chief counsel for the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He argued many successful cases before the U.S. Supreme Court including Smith v. Allwright in 1944, Shelly v. Kraemer in 1948, Sweatt v. Painter in 1950, and McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents in 1950.

In 1954, Marshall successfully argued before the Court the case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the “Separate but Equal” doctrine, declaring racial segregation unconstitutional in American public schools thus ending legalized segregation of education institutions.

Marshall retired from the bench in 1991 and passed away January 24, 1993, in Washington, DC at the age of 84.

HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES

Since its founding in 1987, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) has been laser-focused on ensuring student success at publicly supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by creating access to higher education, promoting educational excellence, and preparing the next generation of talent through leadership development.

HBCUs have a 150-year history of providing opportunity for racial uplift for Black Americans through education. They have served as a nexus for opportunity and advancement, research, and developing innovative solutions to long-standing barriers to achievement and advancement faced by Black Americans. With this background and history, today’s social and political climate necessitates that TMCF broaden its work to more forcefully engage in addressing social justice issues more explicitly.

There are 101 HBCUs and Predominately Black Colleges (PBIs) across the nation and nine percent of all African American college students attend HBCUs. All HBCUs play a critical role in the American system of higher education. For most of America’s history, African Americans seeking a college education could only get it from an HBCU.

HBCUs hold a leadership role within the African American community with a history of educating and training African American leaders who have been at the forefront of social change.

HBCUs disproportionately enroll low-income, first-generation and academically underprepared college students – precisely the students that the country most needs to obtain college degrees. More than 75% of students at HBCUs rely on Pell Grants and nearly 13% rely on PLUS Loans to meet their college expenses. HBCUs have 1/8 of the average size of endowments than historically white colleges and universities.

Against these odds, HBCUs have provided an affordable education to millions of students of color, graduating the majority of America’s African American teachers, doctors, judges, engineers, and other scientific and technological professionals.