History of the African-American Studies Department
The African-American Studies program grew out of demands
from African-American students who were attending the University of Mississippi.
On February 25, 1970, over 80 of these students demonstrated at the university
for the establishment of a Black Studies program and the hiring of black faculty
and administrators. After the protest, a number of students were arrested.
Protesters were housed in Lafayette County jail, and over forty were sent
to Parchman prison until they were bonded out. Eventually, eight students
were expelled from the university, but in the fall of that year, the university
hired Ms. Jeanette Jennings as the first black faculty member. Also during
that year, the first classes were offered under the Black Studies Program.
During its history, the program has published three newsletters, developed
the Afro-American Novel project, and organized conferences on Richard Wright,
Black Language, Archeology, and the Annual Experience of Black Mississippians.
Chronology of African-American Studies Program Administrators
(1970 - 1978) Dr. Harry P. Owens & Ms. Jeanette Jennings-
Co-advisors of Black Studies Program
(1978 - 1980) Dr. Cleveland Donald- First Director of Black
(1980 - 1981) Dr. Cleveland- took leave of absence to work
at the National Endowment for the Humanities
(1980 - 1981) Mr. Donald Cole- appointed coordinator of Black
(1981 - 1982) Dr. Thomas Eric Green - Acting Director of
Black Studies Program
(1983- 1989) Dr. Ronald Bailey- Director of Black Studies
Program which was renamed Afro-American Studies Program
(1989-1990) Ms. Marilyn M. Thomas-Houston- Coordinator of
the Afro-American Studies Program
(1990) Dr. Bruce B. Williams- Acting Director of the Afro-American
Program (during search for permanent director)
(1990-2003) Dr. James F. Payne- Director of Afro-American
Studies which was renamed African-American Studies
(2003) Dr. Charles Ross- Interim Director of African-American
2003-2004 African-American Studies. All rights reserved.