“The goal of the series is to explore the various aspects of the black experience from historical and current perspectives,” Kirkland said. “The ‘plus’ is a vital recognition that the 1619 documentation of some 20 or so Africans arriving off the coast of Virginia does not include the history of blacks in the Americas that dates much earlier.”

Jack Kirkland, the visionary behind the 400 Years Plus Trilogy, is an internationally known scholar who lectures, consults and writes on the African-American family and social and economic development. Kirkland was an activist and strategist in the Civil Rights Movement and has since held a number of roles as a public servant and elected official.

In the classroom, Kirkland brings to life issues of community work, group relations, international social development, racism, social planning, and urban environments. His field-based summer course, “Poverty – The Impact of Institutionalized Racism,” immerses students in the community of East St. Louis and teaches them to strategize on policies that can combat the effects of intentional urban blight and poverty.

Currently, he serves as the social economic developer of The Helping Village in East St. Louis. Kirkland has also designed and led workshops in African-American culture for public school teachers across the country, focused on improving multicultural classroom environments.

Among his many recognitions, Kirkland was awarded a National Service Award from the National Association of Home and Services for Children, a Spirit of Crazy Horse award from the Black Hills Seminars, and the Distinguished Faculty Alumni Award from the Brown School, and he has been listed in the Library of Congress 2014.