Celebrating 40 Years

December 4, 2009
4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Black Box Room, IMU

Let The Documents Speak
By Tisch Jones

Twas four Days after King’s death, and all through this town
Black students were stirring, the gauntlet thrown down;

April 9, 1968

University of Iowa President Howard Bowen called for the creation of a $50,000 Martin Luther King scholarship fund to help bring more Negro students to this university.  Bowen told the students that establishment of an institute of Afro American studies is under consideration.

The flag hung half staff on the Pentacrest dome
In hopes that U of I would continue to stay calm;

Carl Varner, UI student body president spoke.  “It is imperative that King’s philosophy does not die with the man.  Martin Luther King is dead but Stokely Carmichael lives on.”  Referring to the burning in major cities that followed King’s assassination he continued  “ If we don’t act, Carmichael will”.

The university community was quiet during these days
With visions of liberality dancing blindly as they gaze.

May 15, 1968

The University of Iowa and other universities are making extra efforts these days to enroll disadvantaged students of all races, not just Negroes primarily “because it is right”, not because the schools fear loss of federal support.

The university administration was filled with great anticipation
As President Bowen laid down some new information
Will it appease the threat of armed hostilities in the night
As students protest the war and march for civil rights.

  1. If the goal of $50,000 is realized, many disadvantaged students of minority background can be invited to study at the university.
  2. The employment of a fulltime admissions counselor to work in Iowa urban areas advising prospective students of minority background.
  3. The establishment of a student center where minority group students can gather for informal meetingswith other students and with guidance, vocational, personal and academic counselors.
  4. The continuation of the university’s program of student exchange with two predominantly Negro Tennesee and Mississippi colleges, LeMoyne and Rust.
  5. The continuation of the university’s involvement and support of Upward Bound, a program designed to encourage youngsters to complete high school and at the same time aid them in preparing for college.
  6. the development and expansion of curricular programs in Afro-American culture, race relations, poverty, human rights and related educational and research activities.

Then out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
Black Power, Human Rights was all that would matter

November 22, 1968

A course called “The Culture of Black America” will be given at the University during the spring semester as one of the principal activities of the new faculty Committee of Afro-American Studies. Chairman of the committee of 20, is Philip G. Hubbard, dean of academic affairs. The Secretary is Prof. Robert A. Corrigan of the American Civilization Program. This committee has assembled a list of 50 courses that will appear in the course catalogue under the heading “Afro-American Studies”. The primary courses in Afro-American studies listed by the committee are Afro-American literature, Black Action Theatre, Race Relations, Poverty and the Law, Human Rights and World Order: Race, Community and the American Political System, Individual Rights in an Industrial Society, and Readings in Afro-American History.

The course in black culture filled up in a flash
Black students pushed for more than one class

The needs of the black population of this state have not been recognized by the university. Our schedule of courses includes classes in Chinese and English, Russian French and countless other cultural studies of “interest to our white racist society. Many black students are interested in studying their own black heritage, and only this semester were allowed ONE free university.

1969 was a volatile year,
With hope that civil rights soon would be here.

BOYCOTT CLASSES on Black Tuesday( make it a round)
Black Tuesday is the day of national mourning for Dr. King.  
Black Tuesday is the day on which black leaders have called a national black worker’s strike
Black Tuesday is the day for us to Boycott Classes to discuss the more important issues of racisim, poverty, and exploitation in America.
Black Tuesday is the day for us to move beyond pious words while American is burning down.

Black Monday will be supported in person by only some black University Students because all blacks were advised to leave the campus “for their own safety”. It had been reported that part of the planned activities will be speeches by members of the Black Panthers.

The push toward department status moved swiftly along
The need for black faculty was a brand new song

March 18, 1969

Dean Hubbard, speaking on “Black America’s Relationship to Higher Education” said northern schools now vigorously seek Afro-American faculty members and consultants for new courses in black culture.  To meet their need, they are turning to some of the nation’s 103 predominantly black higher education institutions.

With bomb threats and fires as constant threats
Highway Patrolmen became Iowa City’s best bet.

May 11, 1970

HIGHWAY PATROLMEN HERE FOR INDEFINATE STAY. Approximately 180 highway patrolmen are headquartered at the Ramada Inn. Campus security was still receiving a large number of bomb threats although no violence has occurred since the fire in East Hall Annex Saturday Night.

In the midst of this struggle, a department greatly fared
With the appointment of Charles T. Davis as chair

During the 1960’s, Robert Corrigan, executive secretary and acting director of American Civilization, instituted the Afro-American Studies Program (renamed the African-American World Studies Program in the 1980s) under the aegis of the American Civilization Program, with the aim of attaining high academic standards in this important new area of culture studies at Iowa. Charles T. Davis served as the first director of Afro-American Studies from 1970-72.

Without much delay, it was one of the first
We knew African American Studies would quench our thirst
More rapid than eagles new faculty came,
For their wisdom and commitment, we will call out their names.

Dr. Hubbard, Dr. Corrigan, Dr. Huntley and Dr. Greene Dr. Lane, Dr. VanDyke, Dr. Duffy, and Dr. Lane.

African American Studies sponsored Summer Institutes in the early days.  Scholars descended on University Iowa’s Campus to foster research in Black Studies.
1970 – Symposium on Harlem Renaissance
1971 – Symposium on Richard Wright: His Work, His World and His Influence
1972 – Sympostium on W. E.B. DuBois
1973 – Symposium on The Afro-American on Stage and Film

And then, in a twinkling, the chair went to Yale.
From 1972- 1991 Darwin T. Turner was hailed.

African American Studies once had a graduate Program?

As we celebrate 40 years, we still fight for existence,
As a proud legacy is left with  a faculty who will go the distance.

Venise Berry, Tisch Jones, Michael Lomax, Sydné Mahone, Kevin Mumford, Katrina Sanders, Leslie Schwalm, Richard B. Turner, Tim Havens, Lena Hill, Michael Hill, Miriam Thaggert, Bridget Tsemo, Deborah Whaley,Vershawn Ashanti Young,  

Happy Anniversary to All and Have a Good Evening