Department of African American Studies Records, 1968-1976
- State University of New York at Albany. Department of African American Studies
- The Department of African American studies documents the papers and administrative processes of the development and implementation of an African American Studies department at the University at Albany in the late 1960s to the late 1970s.
- 2.33 cubic ft.
- English and English
- Preferred citation:
- Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Department of African American Studies Records, 1968-1976. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as [shortened name]).
Access and Use
- Conditions Governing Access:
Access to these records is unrestricted except where otherwise noted in the finding aid
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
- Scope and Content:
Contains the chair's correspondence of the Departmentof Afro-American (1969-1973) and subsequently African and Afro-American Studies(1973-1976) regarding the formation of the department in 1969 and it's subsequentdevelopment, as well as correspondence with colleagues in the professioninterested in the process by which the department was founded, and relatingto the formation of the Council on Afro-American Studies in 1969-1970.Also contained in the records are department faculty minutes (1969-1973),proposals Afro-American Studies Department, a "The Minority Summer Institute"(1971); requests for assistance in the development of a Puerto Rican Studiesdepartment; and a few faculty publications.
- Biographical / Historical:
The current department of Africana Studies is the successor to the Department of Afro-American Studies created in January 1969. The department was part of the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences of the College of Arts and Science, which became the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences in 1977. The Afro-American Studies department was created by President Collins in response to demands by an increasing African American student population, lead by the Black Student Alliance, for entry level courses in Afro-American studies. On January 31, 1969, President Collins by-passed normal University channels and formed an Afro-American Studies Department scheduled to offer courses in the fall of 1969. Previous to the formation of the Africana Studies Department courses had been offered during the 1960's in the departments of English (Afro American Literature Eng 583 was introduced in the Fall of 1966), History (History of the Negro in the United States, HY 254 was introduced in the fall of 1966), Sociology (Minority Groups, Soc 150, introduced in Fall of 1964). These courses would eventually form the basis for the interdisciplinary Afro-American Studies Department.
According to the 1969-1970 bulletin of the new department, "The Department of Afro-American Studies was designed...[to] supplement...the intellectual perspectives which have been characteristic of our nations historically pro-white orientation. This would be accomplished through an investigation of vital disciplines such as political, historical, economic, socio-psychological and derived issues as they relate to the Black experience." According to the University Final Budget request for 1970-71 the new department would concentrate specifically on "Urban Affairs and human development." Though the primary focus of the department was studying the black experience in the United States, from the start the department also included courses relating to African history and culture.
The new department developed rapidly. The 1970 University Bulletin lists thirty-four courses available to an undergraduate major in Afro-American Studies in the areas of Historical Issues, Economic-Political, Socio-Psychological, or Cultural. Since the Fall of 1972 the department has offered a Masters of Arts degree.
In addition to its strictly academic course offerings, the African and Afro-American Studies Department served as a social support arena. It was and is the only department in which there is a substantial number of black professors, providing students with needed role models in a predominately white environment. The department serves as a home for mentors and those to be mentored.
In 1973 the Department Afro-American Studies enlarged their mission to give equal emphasis to the interdisciplinary study of Africa. In recognition of this new emphasis the Afro-American Department changed its name to the Department of African and Afro-American Studies. In 1990 the department once again changed its name to Africana Studies in recognition of a new widening of its intellectual focus--namely the inclusion of courses documenting the whole African diaspora. New areas of concentration included Caribbean and Latin American Studies.
 Draft letter of President Evan R. Collins to Faculties ,Senate,Ca. January 20,1969; Official Listing of Black Students AllianceDemands, January 13, 1969.
 The State University At Albany, Undergraduate Bulletin, 1970-71, p. 152.
 State University of New York at Albany, Final Budget Request, 1970-71, p. 51.
 State University of New York at Albany, Undergraduate Bulletin, 1970-71, p. 152-55.
 State University of New York at Albany, Graduate Bulletin 1972-73, p. 61
- Acquisition information:
These records were transferred to the University at Albany, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections, by the chairs of the Department of African and Afro-American Studies.
- Processing information:
Processed in 2012 by Kerri T. Payne .
- African Americans and Civil Rights Organizations
Higher education and society
Higher education and state--United States.
UAlbany Academic Departments
- The Department of African American Studies
- Albany (N.Y.)