UWM to celebrate 50 years of Black Studies

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Department of African and African Diaspora Studies marks its 50th anniversary on April 25 with a lecture by Evelyn Higginbotham, the chair of the History Department at Harvard University and its former chair of African American Studies. Higginbotham, a UWM alumna who attended campus while student activists worked to found a Black Studies program, will talk about the history of UWM’s Black Studies and the continuing need for African and African Diaspora Studies in our world today.

After the keynote address, Higginbotham will join in a conversation with:

  • Dan Burrell, a student activist and first director of UWM’s Center for Afro-American Culture, the precursor to the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies. Burrell retired as an associate vice president from Milwaukee Area Technical College.
  • Clayborn Benson, a UWM alumnus and director of the Wisconsin Black Historical Society.
  • Charmane Perry, a graduate of the department’s PhD program.

They will discuss the turbulent days of the program’s establishment and how students and educators continue to press for transformation of campuses and communities.

The UWM Department of African and African Diaspora Studies began life as the Center for Afro-American Studies, which opened in 1969. Over the next five decades, students and faculty within the department have contributed scholarship advancing the public’s knowledge of Africans and the African Diaspora.

This event is free and open to the public. Higginbotham’s talk begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 25, in the Wisconsin Room of the UWM Student Union.