The Africana Studies Department of Rutgers University celebrated its 40th anniversary in the 2009-2010 academic year. The recognition of Africana Studies as a discipline and its attainment of departmental status at Rutgers, and other institutions of higher education in America, is one of the triumphs of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Students, activists, and faculty members committed to redressing racial inequality in society, as well as its manifestation in the academy, embarked on a daring experiment to found a discipline and department to serve as a custodian and disseminator of the various knowledges pertaining to “Africana.” Thus, “Africana Studies” came to embrace Africa, the ancestral homeland of African peoples, the diverse cultures, deep histories, and long memories of the vast African diaspora.  Furthermore, the discipline embodies the heroic struggles that bind together all those who are committed to a vision of racial justice and democracy.

In commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of that scholastic and historical milestone, the Africana Studies Department, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the Office of Vice-President for Academic Affairs at Rutgers, planned a series of events throughout the 2009-10 academic year. The celebration was launched with a lecture by Ben Jealous, the National President of the NAACP, who spoke to a standing-room-only, university-wide audience at the Multipurpose room of the Rutgers Student Center on College Avenue on October 26, 2009.

Click below for 40th Anniversary Program details: