Kevin Cokley, Ph.D.

Professor of Educational Psychology and African and African Diaspora, and Chair of the Department of Educational Psychology, University of Texas at Austin

Editor of Making Black Lives Matter: Confronting Anti-Black Racism

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What are your main areas of research or professional expertise?

My main area of research is in the area of African American psychology, with a focus on racial and ethnic identity and understanding the psychological and environmental factors that impact African American students’ academic achievement. I study the psychosocial experiences of Black students. I am currently exploring impostor phenomenon and its relationship to mental health and academic outcomes.

What personal or professional experiences have shaped your current approach to teaching or the focus of your research?

The personal experiences that have shaped the focus of my research occurred primarily during my time as an undergraduate student at Wake Forest University. I received an academic, need-based scholarship, and I needed to obtain a minimum GPA of 3.0 to maintain the scholarship. However, I had a disastrous first semester and ended up being put on academic probation. During the time that I was struggling academically I was also coming into my racial awareness on matters of race and activism. So in many ways my research is a reflection of my own lived experience as a Black male student trying to navigate a predominantly White educational space. 

What inspired you to edit Making Black Lives Matter?

I was approached about creating a book that was responsive to the issues facing Black people, especially in light of the highly publicized police killings. I was especially excited about the idea of having complete editorial control regarding the content of the book. I wanted to create a book that was not a traditional academic book, where only scholars with certain academic credentials would write a scholarly chapter steeped in references. I am not diminishing that approach because it is obviously very important. After all, I am an academic! However, I wanted the book to be unique by including the diverse voices and perspectives of primarily Black people with different lived experiences, academic credentials, and social statuses.

What was the most challenging aspect of editing the book? The most rewarding aspect?

The most challenging aspect of editing the book was definitely getting all of the authors to turn in their drafts on schedule. This did not happen, which delayed the publication of the book by a few months. Additionally, the writing varied quite a bit among the authors. I had to spend more time with some authors in helping them shape their chapters to be consistent with my vision for the book. That took a lot of work!

However, the amount of work was well worth it! The most rewarding aspect of editing the book was giving some of the contributors a chance to be published authors and to see their names in print. This was especially the case for the undergraduate students, whom I thought did an excellent job with their chapter.

What do you hope readers will take away from the book?

I hope that readers will come away from the book with a sense of the different ways they can actively engage in confronting anti-Black racism.

About Making Black Lives Matter

At the heart of racist attitudes and behaviors is anti-Black racism, which simply put, is the disregard and disdain of Black life. Anti-Black racism negatively impacts every aspect of the lives of Black people.

Edited by renowned scholar and psychologist Kevin Cokley, Making Black Lives Matter: Confronting Anti-Black Racism explores the history and contemporary circumstances of anti-Black racism, offers powerful personal anecdotes, and provides recommendations and solutions to challenging anti-Black racism in its various expressions.

The book features chapters written by scholars, practitioners, activists, and students. The chapters reflect diverse perspectives from the Black community and writing styles that range from scholarly text supported by cited research to personal narratives that highlight the lived experiences of the contributors. The book focuses on the ways that anti-Black racism manifests and has been confronted across various domains of Black life using research, activism, social media, and therapy.

In the words of Cokley: “It is my hope that the book will provide a blueprint for readers that will empower them to actively confront anti-Blackness wherever it exists, because this is the only way we will progress toward making Black lives matter.”

Download your free digital copy of Making Black Lives Matter: Confronting Anti-Black Racism!


Making Black Lives Matter is a book that is meant to be shared! The goal for Cognella for publishing this book is to amplify the voices of those who need to be heard and to provide readers free access to critical scholarship on topics that affect our everyday lives. We’re proud to provide free digital copies of the book to anyone who wants to read it. So, we encourage you to spread the word and share the book with everyone you know.

If you’d like a print copy of Making Black Lives Matter, you can purchase one at cost via Amazon or Pricing is set by the distributors, though it is intended to only cover printing and shipping costs. If Cognella receives any proceeds from the sale of print copies, the full amount will be donated to a nonprofit organization benefitting the Black community, to be determined by editor Kevin Cokley.

If you post about the book on social media, please use the hashtags #MakingBlackLivesMatter and #Cognella to join the conversation!

About the Editor

Kevin Cokley is a distinguished teaching professor and Chair of the Department of Educational Psychology with a joint appointment in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies at The University of Texas at Austin, where he holds the Oscar and Anne Mauzy Regents Professorship for Educational Research and Development. He is the past director of the Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis. Dr. Cokley holds the title Distinguished Psychologist from the Association of Black Psychologists and is the past editor-in-chief of the Journal of Black Psychology. His research focuses on African American psychology with a focus on racial identity development, academic achievement, and the impostor phenomenon. He holds a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Georgia State University, an M.Ed. in counselor education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a B.A. in psychology from Wake Forest University.