Chapman-2019-African American Studies and the State of the Art (1).pdf

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2 Afr.ican American Studies and the State of the Art Rico D. Chapman Introduction African American Studies is a discipline rather young compared to the traditional disciplines in the academy. Its beginnings are usually attributed to the late 1960s Black Power Movement era, when students on college campuses throughout the United States were demanding courses related to the African experience in America; however, its early stages go back to the late nineteenth century. African-American scholars produced ground-breaking scholarship at the time, including W. E. B. Du Bois's The Philadelphia Negro (1899), Alain Locke's The New Negro (1925), and E. Franklin Frazier's Negro at the Crossroads (1940). As early as 1915, historian Carter G. Woodson established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History while also founding the first academic journal dedicated to the African American ex - perience. In what Manning Marable terms the "conceptual period" of Black Studies, from Reconstruction through the Great Depression, over one hundred public and private colleges were established for African descended peoples. African American Studies has as its focus people of African descent, primarily in the Western Hemisphere, though Africa and the diaspora are generally included. In the early stages of the discipline's growth, the term "Black Studies" was widely used, until the 1980s when the designation of "African-American Studies" became more commonplace, although most programs and departments would have used African American Studies to broadly mean the study of African descended peoples in the United States and abroad; however, as more programs, centers, institutes, and de- partments emerged, some being called "Black Studies," ''.African and African American Studies," ''Africana Studies," and "Pan-African Studies," there arose the need to be more specific in scope. These terms will be used interchangeably throughout the chapter. Major terms and concepts: Africana, Afrocentricity, Afrology, Pan-African, Black Studies, Diaspora, interdisciplinary, HBCU, Jim Crow, Black Panther, Black Power, the Ford Foundation, Jubilee. 41
42 2 · African American Studies and the State of the Art Historical Context The emergence of African American Studies is part of a longer history of struggle on the part of people of African descent, though the more contemporary beginnings can be traced back to the Black Power Movement. The decade of the 1960s leading up to the founding of Black Studies programs across the country was one of the most turbulent eras in United States history. The modern civil rights movement was gar- nering national attention and white supremacists were ramping up their efforts to thwart any progressive gains made by African Americans. In the early 1960s, African American students played a major role in bringing attention to the movement through their fearless dedication to non-violent direct action. Students in Atlanta, Georgia, Greensboro, North Carolina, Jackson, Mississippi, and Washington, D.C., challenged

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