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50 Years of Black Studies at UWM: Exhibit

April 1, 2019 @ 12:00 AM - May 31, 2019 @ 12:00 AM

50 years of BLACK Studies at UWM1968 was a year of widespread upheaval, and the sphere of higher education  was no different. Marginalized students and allies across the country  began organizing coalitions and demonstrating for better representation on campus, culturally relevant courses, improved access to higher  education, and cultural spaces for students of color.

The  University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus was at the forefront of this  movement, establishing one of the first Black Studies departments in the  United States. In June of 1968, the UWM Faculty Senate approved the  creation of the Center for Afro-American Studies, a predecessor to today’s Department of African and African Diaspora Studies (AADS), and the UW System Regents approved UWM’s proposal for a permanent Center in Fall 1969.

Now in 2019, AADS at UWM is recognized for the expertise of  its faculty, its robust coursework, and as one of the fewer than 20 departments offering a PhD in the discipline.

This triumph would not have been possible without the activism of UWM  Students who fought tirelessly for a voice and place in academia. The efforts of these dedicated activists changed the trajectory of UWM and  higher education.

Black Studies departments and programs across the  country continue this struggle today. Focused globally and grounded in  Milwaukee, the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies and  its extraordinary history continue to empower the UWM Community fifty  years later.

To commemorate this milestone in for the AADS department, the UWM Libraries Diversity Advisory Committee has installed the exhibit 50 years of Black Studies at UWM in the Daniel M. Soref Learning Commons, located on the first floor west wing of the Golda Meir Library. The exhibit follow the department’s journey from activism to academia and focuses on student efforts that set the history in motion.

50 years of Black Studies at UWM was designed in collaboration with AADS faculty to compliment  a public celebration and panel discussion being held in the UWM Student Union Wisconsin Room April 25 at 7 pm. Harvard University’s Dr. Evelyn Higginbotham of Harvard will deliver a keynote address followed by a panel discussion featuring Dan Burrell, the first Director of the Center for Afro-American Culture at UWM; Clayborn Benson of the Wisconsin Black Historical Society; and Charmane Perry, a recent graduate of the AADS PhD program. This event is free and open to the public. Find event details on this page:


April 1, 2019 @ 12:00 AM
May 31, 2019 @ 12:00 AM
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