African American Studies

African American Studies began as a discipline formally with a student strike at San Francisco State in 1968.  Students demanded that the history and culture of black Americans be included as part of the curriculum and intellectual life on their campus.
The African American Studies Program at the College of Charleston carries on that legacy.  Offering both an interdisciplinary major and minor, the program focuses on the study of African American experiences.  African American Studies aims to provide students an understanding of the history and culture of African Americans; to introduce students to the diversity of African American experiences in a variety of disciplines; to promote the study of African American history and culture in the larger community; and to make African American Studies an integral part of intellectual life at the College of Charleston.

Students with degrees in African American Studies pursue careers in various areas, such as law, politics, medicine, art, teaching, entertainment, and journalism.

 


Reading Pleasures: An Evening with Tara A. Bynum

The Conseula Francis Emerging Scholar Lecture presents Tara A. Bynum and Reading Pleasures: Everyday Black Living in Early America

Tuesday, February 7th at 7 pm
Avery Research Center * Senator McKinley Washington Auditorium

 Event_Details

In the early United States, a Black person committed an act of resistance simply by reading and writing. Yet we overlook that these activities also brought pleasure. In her book, Reading Pleasures: Everyday Black Living in Early America, Tara A. Bynum tells the compelling stories of four early American writers who expressed feeling good despite living while enslaved or only nominally free. The poet Phillis Wheatley delights in writing letters to a friend. Ministers John Marrant and James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw memorialize their love for God. David Walker’s pamphlets ask Black Americans to claim their victory over slavery. Together, their writings reflect the joyous, if messy, humanity inside each of them. This proof of a thriving interior self in pursuit of good feeling forces us to reckon with the fact that Black lives do matter.

 


African American Studies Faculty Book Celebration

Join us as we celebrate recent publications from our African American Studies faculty:

Thursday, February 16th at 5 pm
Thaddeus Street Jr. Education Center * Septima Clark Auditorium
25 St. Philip Street, Room 118

Event_Poster

origin story: poems by Gary Jackson

origin story outlines a family history of distant sisters, grieving mothers and daughters, and alcoholic fathers. These poems take us from Kansas to Korea and back again in an attempt to reconnect with estranged family and familial ghosts divided by years of diaspora. An interrogation of cultural and personal myths, origin story wrestles with the questions: Who will remember us? How do we deal with the failures of memory? Whose stories are told?

My Soul Is a Witness: The Traumatic Afterlife of Lynching by Mari N. Crabtree

Black southerners often shielded their loved ones from the most painful memories of local lynchings with strategic silences but also told lynching stories about vengeful ghosts or a wrathful God or the deathbed confessions of a lyncher tormented by his past. They protested lynching and its legacies through art and activism, and they mourned those lost to a mob’s fury. They infused a blues element into their lynching narratives to confront traumatic memories and keep the blues at bay, even if just for a spell. Telling their stories troubles the simplistic binary of resistance or submission that has tended to dominate narratives of Black life and reminds us that amid the utter devastation of lynching were glimmers of hope and an affirmation of life.

My Soul Is a Witness traces the long afterlife of lynching in the South through the traumatic memories it left in its wake. She unearths how African American victims and survivors found ways to live through and beyond the horrors of lynching, offering a theory of African American collective trauma and memory rooted in the ironic spirit of the blues sensibility—a spirit of misdirection and cunning that blends joy and pain.

 


Trial Access to The HistoryMakers 

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The College of Charleston has campus-wide trial access to The HistoryMakers available on the Libraries’ A-Z Databases List

Trial ends February 28, 2023.

The HistoryMakers is a unique collection of oral history videos that provides an unprecedented and irreplaceable record of African American lives, history, and culture. The collection includes over 12,000 hours of video oral history interviews covering a variety of topics and fields including the arts, business, civic engagement, education, entertainment, law, medicine, and much more. Learn more about The HistoryMakers here.

 

The Libraries’ Collection Development Committee values the input of the campus community when evaluating potential new resources to add to the collections. Please complete the Trial Evaluation Form and let us know what you think of The HistoryMakers.

 

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Trial Access to The HistoryMakers 
Posted on 6 February 2023 | 9:42 am
The College of Charleston has campus-wide trial access to The HistoryMakers available on the Libraries’ A-Z Databases List. Trial ends February 28, 2023. The HistoryMakers is a unique collection of oral history videos that provides an unprecedented and irreplaceable record of African American lives, history, and culture. The collection includes over 12,000 hours of video […]
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African American Studies Faculty Book Celebration
Posted on 31 January 2023 | 10:23 am
Join us as we celebrate recent publications from our African American Studies faculty: Thursday, February 16th at 5 pm Thaddeus Street Jr. Education Center * Septima Clark Auditorium 25 St. Philip Street, Room 118 origin story: poems by Gary Jackson origin story outlines a family history of distant sisters, grieving mothers and daughters, and alcoholic fathers. […]
Read More
Reading Pleasures: An Evening with Tara A. Bynum
Posted on 25 January 2023 | 10:51 am
The Conseula Francis Emerging Scholar Lecture presents Tara A. Bynum and Reading Pleasures: Everyday Black Living in Early America Tuesday, February 7th at 7 pm Avery Research Center * Senator McKinley Washington Auditorium   In the early United States, a Black person committed an act of resistance simply by reading and writing. Yet we overlook […]
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