Meet the Faculty: Rupe Simms

Rupe Simms
Professor of Africana Studies

At North Park Since: 1997

Students in Rupe Simms’s Africana studies and sociology courses can expect to be challenged to expand their worldviews and understanding of the social injustice and discrimination that large groups of Americans experience because of their race, class, and/or gender. His courses take students on a journey through history from an Afrocentric standpoint, and consider the ways that African-Americans, Afro-Mexicans, and Mexican Americans experience life in the United States today.

Chicago provides a rich context for students to explore these topics, with vibrant outpourings of current culture and long histories connecting Blacks and Mexican Americans to the city. Dr. Simms uses this setting to include experiential learning and service components in courses like The Civil Rights Movement and Speaking Truth to Power: The Social and Political History of Mexicans in America. For example, “as a part of these classes students participate in various aspects of the ministry of The House Church (a hip hop assembly) in the Ogden area and visit the DuSable Museum of African American History,” he says.

Dr. Simms’s research interests include the politics of religion in the history of African people and the sociopolitical and religious experiences of Afro-Mexicans and Mexican Americans. He is an active author and has served as a consultant for children’s literature exploring the lives and work of individuals including Langston Hughes, Medgar Evers, and Malcom X.


  • PhD, Sociology, Loyola University, Chicago
  • PhD, Bible Exposition, Dallas Theological Seminary
  • MA, Greek and New Testament Literature, Dallas Theological Seminary
  • BA, Bible Introduction, Moody Bible Institute
  • BA, Education, Boston University

Recent Publications

  • Rupe Simms. “Catholicism as an Instrument of Counter-hegemony: The Religiopolitical Ingenuity of Afro-Mexican People.” The Western Journal of Black Studies vol 35, # 3 (Fall 2011): 163-175.
  • Rupe Simms. A Gramscian Analysis of the Role of Religion in Politics: Case Studies in Domination, Accommodation, and Resistance. Lewiston, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2010.
  • “An Institutional Matrix of Counter-Hegemony: A Contribution to Black Feminist Theory.” In Studies in African American Leadership: Individuals, Movements, and Committees, edited by Victor Oguejiofor Okafor and Tunde Adeleke, 77-100. Lewiston, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2006.