Black And Black Studies Program

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In the late 1960’s America saw a nationwide surge in the demand from Black college students for a Black Studies Program. As these black students watched other movements, such as the Montgomery Bus Boycotts, Brown vs Board of Education and the Freedom Riders, they “became impatient with the slow pace of securing freedom through the courts” ( Anderson and Stewart 29) . The black students at Dickinson College formally began their quest for a Black Studies Program in 1969. While these student leaders organized the student body, various faculty members began to organize in order to petition on the administrative level for the Black Studies Program. These professors formed a study group, entitled The Study of Black Culture and Consciousness with the intention of researching what a Black Studies Program would look like, and how they would go about making it a reality. Through my research, I have surmised that the original intention of the study group was to create a program that not only changed the curriculum for black students but one that would shake the foundation of the college as a whole, through the introduction of Black Studies and its challenge of Eurocentrism . The study group set out to revolutionize Dickinson’s Campus in a way that would remedy the “loss of African and Afro-American heritage” for every student; however, the reality of being at a predominantly white institution took the focus off the black students and placed it primarily on convincing the white students that Black Studies mattered. The study group began its work in July of 1969, consisting of five faculty members and four students. Originally, the group followed Carter G Woodson’s assertion that teachers should “revolutionize the social order for the good o... ... middle of paper ... ...ulty members by making it fit into the structure that was already created. This decision neglected the CAS demand of having Black Studies form the “basis of black institutional development on all levels,” instead just inserting Black Studies into the institution. Fast forward almost 50 years later and Dickinson has finally created a Black Studies program, aptly named Africana Studies. Differing from the original plan of the study group, the department places the African and Diasporic experience at its core and views the rest of the world through those lenses. Adjusting to the changing experiences of the times, this program is on track to achieve the demands CAS that the Black (Africana) Studies program would be “paramount in bringing about [the] urgently needed changes and reordering [the] values at Dickinson in terms of curricula, faculty, attitudes, and programs.
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