Black History Month is a time for celebration and the recognition of the central role Black people have played in shaping the United States. This year, the University of Florida’s celebration is especially meaningful as the Department of African American Studies celebrates its 50th anniversary.
The development of the university’s African American Studies program began in 1969, and the first students enrolled in 1970. The program has paved the way for both students and faculty, so the celebration of its golden anniversary is fittingly titled, Looking Back and Moving Forward: The Journey Continues. The University will be hosting a two-day celebration starting on Thursday, Feb. 20. The agenda for the event includes an academic panel, film screening and the unveiling of an historical marker.
“On our 50th anniversary, it is an honor to celebrate the vision and efforts of those who struggled to bring African American Studies to UF in 1969,” said Patricia Hilliard-Nunn, chair of the 50th Anniversary Community Celebration Committee. “We are thankful for their work and sacrifices, which assured that African American Studies would remain and be a resource for UF and the community at large. In the spirit of Sankofa – we look back to remember even as we enthusiastically embrace new beginning of sharing the multi-faceted elements of the Black Experience.”
Paul Ortiz, chair of the African American Studies symposium committee, also shared, “I am so humbled and excited to be a part of the organizing effort for the African American Studies @ UF Turns 50 event. It has been inspiring to see students, staff, faculty and community members come together to celebrate and to discuss the past, present and future of African American Studies at the University of Florida and beyond.”
The anniversary program will feature free food and parking and is open to the public. For more information, visit https://afam.clas.ufl.edu/african-american-studies-symposium/ and tune into this WUFT-FM interview with faculty who have planned the event.