UNC Charlotte Special Collections J. Murrey Atkins Library - Special Collections & University Archives

Skip to main content

Department of Africana Studies records

 Collection
Identifier: UA0104

Scope and Contents

The earliest materials in this collection pre-date the formation of both the Black Student Union (BSU) and the Black Studies program, which is today known as the Department of Africana Studies. Photographs and papers from students document protests in the Spring of 1969, which precipitated the formation of the Black Studies Committee, and later, the BSU and Black Studies program. The committee records contain meeting minutes, correspondence, reports, reference materials, and other materials which provide a comprehensive overview of the committee's activites. Curriculum planning, faculty recruitment, student enrollment, and short/long range planning are some of the topics covered. Records created after the formation of the department largely correspond to Dr. Bertha Maxwell's tenure as the first department chair. Many of the records were created by or reference her in some way.

The collection is divided into three series: Black Studies Program--Subject files; Committees--Black Studies--Subject files; Black Student Union--Subject files. Most records in the collection are contained within the Black Studies Program subject files, which fall primarily between the years 1969 and 1984. Aside from the program files, there are two subseries; the first contains audio and video recordings of events and classroom materials. The second subseries contains photographs and slides which document a number of faculty/student events, trips, student protests, and other campus activities. The Black Student Union series is comprised of a single folder with dates between 1969 and 1972. The Committee's series is scattered between the years 1969 and 1982, with most dates falling within the first five years of its creation, which was its most active period.

Committee and most subject files were maintained in the order that they were received. Photographs, slides, and negatives were separated and organized by size and event, when an event could be determined.

Dates

  • 1969-1984
  • 2008 - 2011

Creator

Access to Collection

Collection is open for research; access requires at least 24 hours advance notice.

Conditions Governing Access

Unrestricted access.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by UNC Charlotte.

Administrative History

Founded in 1969, the Black Studies Department at UNC Charlotte stood at the center of a nationwide mobilization marked by community struggles and student movements, which compelled the academy to acknowledge the need for academic units devoted to the study of the African American experience, past and present. As elsewhere, the emergence of Black Studies at UNCC was tied directly to student activism for a greater voice in university affairs. African American students, led by Benjamin Chavis, pushed for the recognition of a Black Student Union early in 1969. Initially rebuffed by the Student Legislature, the students took their demands to university administrators, where the students were again met with reluctance. On March 3rd, 1969, Chavis led a commemoration of the students who were killed during protests outside of a segregated bowling alley in South Carolina a year earlier. A group convened around the flagpole at UNCC to raise a black liberation flag to half mast in honor of the slain South Carolina students. At this forum, linked but discrete agendas blended into one demonstration of protest as black students simultaneously grieved their slain peers, demanded the right to unity under an official organization, and pressed for the inclusion of Black Studies in the university curriculum. The action precipitated the formation of a Black Studies Committee, and by the fall semester, UNCC had both a Black Studies Department and a Black Student Union. The first chair of the department was Dr. Bertha Maxwell Roddey who, besides constructing and propelling a curriculum, searched for an accrediting body to review the new unit. Finding none, she began a process of national dialogue with other scholars in the field that resulted in the 1975 formation of the National Council for Black Studies, an organization that continues to guide and promote black studies. Dr. Mario Azevedo arrived at UNCC in 1986, eventually leading the department through its most recent transition to a Diasporic teaching framework, symbolized by the name change to Africana Studies in 2005.

Extent

5.75 Linear Feet (13 boxes (3 record cartons, 3 slim letter cases, 1 letter case, 1 legal document case, 2 cassette boxes, 1 postcard box, 1 small flat box, 1 8in flip top square box))

Language

English

Overview

Records of Africana Studies Department (formerly African American and African Studies; originally Black Studies), Black Studies Committee, and Black Student Union at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Collection contains files, photgraphs, audiovisuals, and ephemera that document the events leading up to the creation of the department and its subsequent evolution. Dr. Bertha Maxwell, the first department chair, Roberta Duff and Benjamin Chavis are prominent figures in the collection.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Jennifer Jordan, Archives Intern, Winter/Spring 2019.
Title
Department of Africana Studies records
Status
Completeexceptcataloging
Author
Jennifer Jordan
Date
2019-04-24
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte [All collections not yet online. For assistance, contact Special Collections: spec-coll@uncc.edu; 704-687-1170] Repository

Contact:
Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States