WUSTL’s AFAS to Become a Department | Washington University in St. Louis

Student William Pollard III (pictured with megaphone) speaks with Chancellor Thomas H. Eliot during a protest in 1968. Pollard, who earned his bachelor’s degree in political science two years later, is currently a member of the Arts & Sciences National Council. (Photo: Washington University Archives)

This is my B.A., y’all!! AFAS was not just my major home, but my safe space and the reason for my season. So excited about this transition–Congratulations!

In the fall of 1968, as political turbulence rocked the nation, dozens of members of the Association of Black Students at Washington University in St. Louis confronted administrators in the corridors of Brookings Hall. Chief among their demands was the call to establish a black studies program, which students argued would “radically reform our future education.”

“Founded the following the year, the university’s African and African-American Studies (AFAS) program, as it is known today, grew to include more than 30 core and affiliated faculty. This spring, the university will mark a new chapter when AFAS becomes a full department within Arts & Sciences.

“This has long been a dream for all of us connected with African and African-American Studies,” said Gerald Early, the Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters. “Certainly, when I came to campus in 1982, people aspired to see the program become a full department. They felt it was not just an academic goal but also a kind of political goal. They hoped it would bring more presence and prestige to the study of African-descended peoples…”

Read it all: Diversifying the scholarship | The Source | Washington University in St. Louis


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