An exhibit marking fifty years of African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University will be on display in Vanderbilt University’s Special Collections through November 2019. The exhibit highlights materials held in Vanderbilt University Special Collections, University Archives, as well as items loaned from the Department of African American and Diaspora Studies.
The Department of African American and Diaspora Studies was initially named the Afro-American Studies Program. It was not a new academic field when it was first offered at Vanderbilt University in 1969. In the years prior, student movements intersected the Black freedom struggle. Campus visibility led numerous American institutions to offer courses and programs about the African American experience. Many of these programs were only instituted after protracted campus and community struggles.
The exhibit draws from materials held in the University Archives and from student magazines such as Rap and Versus along with faculty publications to outline the history of the African American studies on campus.
African American faculty and students at Vanderbilt worked throughout the decades to support and shape the program on their own terms. These collective efforts are a major reason that, in 2019, the Department of African American and Diaspora Studies celebrates fifty years at Vanderbilt.
A reception for the exhibit will occur in Special Collections on Friday, October 11, from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
There will also be a Curator’s Talk discussing the exhibit on Thursday, November 7, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., also in Special Collections.
For more information about the exhibit, please contact Jason Schultz.