Nubian Message Staff

Here are nine NC State heroes we’ve highlighted in our Blackademics series. Paired with them are nine of the too few black superheroes in comics and, more recently, movies and TV shows. We used different criteria to match them up, but each of our heroes have something in common with their super counterparts. Most importantly though, we’ve never seen these heroes or these people in the same place at the same time. Coincidence? We think not. 

Portrait of Dr. Jamila Simpson

Dr. Jamila Simpson: Dr. Simpson’s background as a science major and position as assistant dean for diversity and student services at the College of Sciences allow her to provide resources and representation for minority students majoring in the sciences. She was the 1st black person at NC State to graduate with a degree in meteorology.

Matched with: Storm. As the descendant of African priestess, Storm is a mutant with the power to control the atmosphere and manipulate the winds and the weather.


Dr, Elan Hope

Dr. Elan Hope: Dr. Hope conducts research to understand the academic and social experiences of marginalized children.

Matched with: Vixen. With the Tantu Totem, Vixen can take on the qualities of different animals. Using this totem, she fights against injustice to protect the innocent.


Preston Keith

Preston Keith: As the assistant director in the GLBT Center, Keith raises awareness for GLBT issues through his management of advocacy programs and student organizations. He is also known on campus for his electric personality.

Matched with: Static Shock. Static is the marquis character from Milestone Comics. His power to manipulate electromagnetic fields allows him to magnetize and demagnetize anything, bend electrons, and generate protective shields, among other things.


Moses T. Alexander Greene poses in front of the African American Cultural Center.

Moses T. Alexander Greene: Using his knowledge of art media and communications, Greene serves as the director of the African American Cultural Center to further its outreach to students.

Matched with: Mr. Terrific. Also known as Michael Holt, the third smartest man on Earth, Mr. Terrific excels in everything from intellect to athleticism.


Headshot of Stephen Freguson against red wall with painting in the background

Dr. Stephen Ferguson: As a professor of philosophy, Dr. Ferguson highlights black philosophers and their contributions throughout history. He also uses philosophy and politics to aid in solving social issues.

Matched with: Icon. Icon is an alien taking the form of black man. He crash-landed on Earth during the time of slavery and took the name Augustus Freeman. Because of his alien physiology, Icon lived through slavery up toward modern times. Having the powers of Superman, Icon serves the city of Dakota as a lawyer by day and a crime fighter by night.


Fredessa Hamilton

Dr. Fredessa Hamilton: Dr. Hamilton is a lecturer in communication who earned her PhD from NC State at age 59. Her thesis and current work focuses on low-literate adults in NC. She broke barriers at Duke, which was desegregated only 10 years before she started as an undergraduate, like how Misty broke into the NYPD.

Matched with: Misty Knight. Also known as Kelly Knight, Misty was a NYPD officer serving justice until her arm got amputated after a bomb attack. Her bionic arm gives her a superhuman grip, and with add-ons from Stark Industries, she can equip different tools and use various abilities.


Tony Williamson, fonder of the Nubian Message.

Tony Williamson: Tony was the founder and first editor-in-chief of the Nubian Message.

Matched with: Black Panther. T’Challa, otherwise known as Black Panther, inherited the crown of Wakanda, one of the wealthiest nations on the planet, after his father T’Chaka was killed. T’Challa received the Black Panther vibranium suit and connected with the Wakanda Black Panther spirit, giving him supernatural strength, speed, agility, stamina and healing.


Blair Kelley

Dr. Blair Kelley: An assistant dean for interdisciplinary studies, professor, wife and mom, Dr. Kelley is an expert in history who enjoys volunteering and engaging with her community. Dr. Kelley’s favorite approach to history is looking for the messy pieces. As an administrator, she also founded a scholarship program to fund study abroad trips for underrepresented minorities and first-generation students.

Matched with: Spectrum. While trying to stop the creation of a dangerous weapon, she was exposed to extra dimensional energy giving her the power to transform herself into any form of energy in the electromagnetic spectrum including gamma rays, microwaves cosmic rays and x-rays.


Dr. Tracey Ray: Dr. Ray has served a slew of roles on campus from director of Multicultural Student Affairs to Africana Studies professor to assistant vice provost for student diversity. Amidst all her work, Dr. Ray works to help students develop as professionals and as people.

Matched with: Shuri. Black Panther’s sister serves as Princess of Wakanda and is armed with a suit just like her brother. She also has supernatural abilities like turning her body as hard as stone or turning people into birds after being trained by a griot spirit while in the Djalia.