The eldest of three boys, Dr. Joe-Joe was born into a European-American family, to a Jewish mother and an Irish/English father. The family lived in an apartment behind a “packie” (Massachusetts-speak for a convenience store that sells alcohol). When he was just a year old, his parents adopted five-week-old Kacey, and a few years later, their brother B-J was born.
Racism became an issue early on for the McManus boys because of the racist reactions to Kacey, who was African American. Later, issues of anti-Semitism and classism piled on. But there was nothing more difficult than the racism that Kacey endured personally.
Fast forward to today, and Joe-Joe is a dad. Makaila (they/them pronouns) identifies as a racially mixed non-binary kid. At ten-years-old, after viewing the footage of the murder of George Floyd with their dad, Makaila challenged him to do more. Makaila knew about Dr. Joe-Joe’s work. They had taken part in protests, participated in classes Joe-Joe taught, and joined in on conversations about racism and intersecting oppression at home.
After seeing the video, Makaila’s immediate response was to tell their dad that he needed to do more, that what he had done so far was not enough. That conversation was instrumental in pushing Dr. Joe-Joe to write his upcoming book, Brother: What I’ve Learned About Living an Anti-racist Life, and to step up his work to focus more directly on anti-racism, as it had begun so many years ago when he and Kacey were in high school.
From early childhood experiences until today, Joe-Joe continues to strive to live his best anti-racist life; continuing to learn, partnering with others working to make a difference, and fighting for diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in his personal life, in community, and professionally.
Dr. Joe-Joe has held faculty, staff, and executive roles, including Chief Diversity Officer. He has served at an HBCU, an international university, an Ivy League institution, a religion affiliated university, and at the public university system level. He has lectured, served on panels, presented, and consulted in the U.S. and internationally for nearly three decades. His work has centered around how best to bring about and develop antiracist leadership and organizations actively engaged in inclusive excellence.
He has served as an Expert Panelist for the Global Diversity & Inclusion Benchmarks (GDIB), and as a member of the Diversity Community Exchange (DiCE) Group for which he edited the book, The Diversity Calling. Previously, McManus served on the Boards for the Diversity Collegium, and the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME).
A first-generation college student, Dr. Joe-Joe earned his B.S. in Psychology from Florida Institute of Technology, an M.A. in Multicultural Education from Alliant International University, and the Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Florida A&M University. More recently, he completed the University of Southern California (USC) Race & Equity Center’s Equity Institute and was a member of the inaugural cohort for the National Association for Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) Standards of Professional Practice Institute, served on the NADOHE President’s Task Group on Charlottesville, and co-chaired the Southern California Chapter of NADOHE.
Teaching at the Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy, where Dr. McManus served as the founding Executive Director. (2008)