Scholarship, Research, Activism: A brief history of UNC Charlotte’s Africana Studies Department

Black History Month at UNC Charlotte
Monday, February 8, 2021

In the late 1960s, Black student and faculty activists, buoyed by the nationwide wave toward overdue societal change, prompted UNC Charlotte leadership to respond to their demands to formalize the study of Black people and Black liberation.

Today, the Africana Studies Department carries on the spirit and scholarship of its predecessor, the Black Studies Program, serving not only as a resource for research and academic excellence but also an agent of change. Faculty scholars, many who are leading their fields, are immersed in topics as relevant to society today as the turbulent early days of the department's origins during the Civil Rights Movement. And their voices are influencing new generations of students toward informed activism. Here are selected milestones in the evolution of UNC Charlotte’s Black Studies Program into today’s Africana Studies Department. (To view on mobile devices, it is recommended to turn the device horizontally).

Sources for this timeline include a forthcoming book by UNC Charlotte researcher Sonya Ramsey, associate professor of History; the Special Collections/University Archives in Atkins Library; Ken Sanford’s book, "Charlotte and UNC Charlotte Growing Up Together"; and the online publication, Inside UNC Charlotte.