Honoring Dr. King:

A Talk With Dr. Joe Canton

The BFSA Network invited Dr. Joe Canton to be guest speaker for this annual event honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. 

  • Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024
  • Noon-1 p.m.
  • Conference Rooms A&B
    (Upper level of the Campus Center)

About Dr. Joe Canton

Dr. Joe Canton is a veteran of the United States Air Force and he spent his youth in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The city is located in the heart of the south. He speaks with pride and endearment of the years growing up on a farm in the rural south with his grandmother, who was a sharecropper. 

Dr. Joe CantonAfter serving in the military, Dr. Canton moved to Los Angeles, California and lived in South Central Los Angeles. He worked and earned his way through college as a custodian with the county of Los Angeles. He was also active with Local 434 of the Service Employees International Union. He graduated from Trade Tech in Los Angeles and transferred to California State University. Within four years, he received his BA in Sociology with a Social Welfare major.

In addition, Dr. Canton competed for a position as a Fellow with the nationally known CORO Foundation and was successful. The program was linked with Occidental College and Dr. Canton received his Masters Degree in Urban Studies with an emphasis on Urban Economics.

He entered the PhD program at UCI Irvine, mentored by Dr. Joseph White, one of the theoreticians who brought to the academic world, the concept of Black Psychology. Dr. Canton earned his PhD in 1977, graduating with honors.

Professionally, Dr. Canton became a Human Resource Analyst with the City of Santa Ana, where he served for five years, making diversity changes in the police and fire department under a project called the Minority Officer Recruitment Effort (M.O.R.E.). He researched and wrote his dissertation on the program established by the City of Santa Ana. The title of his dissertation was, "Affirmative Action-A Case Study of the City of Santa Ana."

He continued his professional journey by becoming the Director of Human Resources and the Chief Labor Negotiator for the city of San Bernardino. After serving five years in that capacity, he moved to Northern California and became the Director of Human Resources and the President's Designee for Labor relations at San Francisco State University.

Dr. Canton has a broad teaching record, teaching across the disciplines in ethnic studies, psychology, leadership and business courses in addressing, management and supervisory courses, including history and political science.

Dr. Canton is currently co-owner of Canton Associates, a business management consultant firm in Pacifica, California, with his wife, Dr. Marcia Canton. He has a long history as an educator and administrator in the San Francisco Bay Area, formerly CEO of Fellowship Academy and formerly the Director of SR Martin College Preparatory School, private non-profit educational enterprises.

We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

- Martin Luther King Jr.
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