I am thrilled to celebrate the African American Studies Program’s 50th year at the University of South Carolina. This year, we will bring together students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends in the community to honor our history and look forward to the important work of our future.
We are celebrating the truth, beauty and ingenuity of African American life and culture is this year. These concepts resonate across campus, from the Desegregation Commemorative Garden beside Osborne to the Tree of Knowledge in front of the Russell House to and the statue of Richard T. Greener by the library.
Our values of consciousness and community start with our students. They drive this program through the intellectual rigor of their coursework and the exchange of creative ideas that build better careers and enrich the lives of others.
Students, we hope that you will use this year to learn more about the journey of African American Studies and the people who worked so hard to build its foundations. Many of those early leaders were undergraduate students in 1971 who insisted that their education at UofSC was incomplete without an understanding of African American experiences. You can follow in their footsteps by excelling in your studies, engaging with the campus community and advocating to resolve inequities.
We also hope that our alumni, including those pioneers who helped found our program 50 years ago, will help us celebrate in person and virtually. Your contributions to the program have helped us demonstrate the value and necessity of studying the African American experience.
I thank our faculty and staff for their invaluable contributions to the planning and execution of this celebration.
This anniversary is an incredible milestone for the African-American Studies Program and the College of Arts and Sciences. As we celebrate the past, let us consider the future. We can raise consciousness of our community — on campus and throughout South Carolina — through our serious study of African American experiences, struggles and triumphs. As far as we are concerned, 50 years is just the start.