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CHAPTER THREE. Dreams, Nightmares, and Realities: Afro-American Studies at Brown University, 1969–1986

Rhett Jones

Subject Race and Ethnicity Studies » African American Studies

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics education, universities

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631235163.2005.00006.x


The primary cause of disorder in ourselves is the seeking of reality promised by another. Michael Harper Black Studies at Brown University, as at many other colleges in the United States, had its beginnings in the 1968–9 academic year. And as was also the case at other universities, it was initiated by undergraduates. At that time the institution was divided into Brown for men and Pembroke College for women, with undergraduates sharing a common faculty, but each having its own residential campus and separate deanery. In this essay I examine some of my goals for the Afro-American Studies program at Brown, as well as my frustrations and problems. I begin with my arrival at Brown in 1969, when I was appointed as the graduate student member of what was then called the Afro-American Studies Planning Committee. This group, consisting of faculty, a representative from the deans, undergraduates, and me, met under the leadership of Charles Nichols, professor of English and first chair of the program. It was responsible for the early development of Black Studies at Brown. I end with 1986, the year in which Brown undergraduates conducted a third major demonstration, many of the goals of which those of us involved in Black Studies at Brown had long sought. The administration's acceptance of two of these demands (the appointment of tenured faculty in Afro-American Studies and the formal incorporation ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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