Between the Lines

Black Studies As (A) Movement: AADS @50

graphic for AADS
Vanderbilt Afro American Studies Pamphlet (detail) Vanderbilt University Archives

The Department of African American and Diaspora Studies was initially named the Afro-American Studies Program. It was not a new academic field when it was first offered at Vanderbilt University in 1969. In the years prior, student movements intersected the Black freedom struggle. Campus visibility led numerous American institutions to offer courses and programs about the African American experience. Many of these programs were only instituted after protracted campus and community struggles. An exhibit marking fifty years of African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University was on display in Vanderbilt University’s Special Collections last fall 2019. The exhibit highlighted materials held in Vanderbilt University Special Collections, University Archives, as well as items loaned from the Department of African American and Diaspora Studies. A reception and curator’s talk accompanied the celebratory exhibition.