For nearly 150 years, Prairie View A&M University has produced top leaders in the arts and sciences, education, agriculture, engineering and nursing. Now, thanks to a $1 million initiative, Enhancing the Humanities at PVAMU, students have the option to major or minor in African American studies.
“A part of the HBCU experience for many students is a journey to self-identification, Blackness, and trying to understand the Black experience better,” said Director and Associate Professor of AAS Jeanelle Hope, Ph.D. “It [African American Studies] provides students with the language to understand the world around them and an opportunity to engage key theories, concepts and methods that seek to make sense of the Black experience and amplify our narratives.”
Funded in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, an anonymous contribution, and a matching grant, the new Bachelor of Arts in AAS Program will prepare the emerging generation of leaders to communicate effectively, think critically, research and examine any field of work through a comprehensive cultural lens. The long-awaited program is a vision of President Ruth J. Simmons. She made it a priority to establish an AAS program at PVAMU.
African American Studies is a relatively new major for college campuses. According to the Chicago Tribune, the nation’s first Black studies department was established in 1968 at San Francisco State University, born out of faculty and student activism. Only a handful of HBCUs have AAS programs, including Morehouse and Spelman Colleges and Howard, Florida A&M, Morgan State, and Claflin Universities, to name a few.
For more information about PVAMU’s new BA in African American Studies Program, visit www.pvamu.edu/bcas/departments/swbps/programs/aastudies