African American Studies Initiative Logo

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Prairie View A&M University a grant of $500,000 to support its effort to establish an African American Studies Initiative which will be housed in its Marvin D. and June Samuel Brailsford College of Arts and Sciences. Inspired by the Mellon Foundation award, an anonymous donor pledged an added $250,000 to help fund this Initiative. This generous donation is eligible for a $250,000 university match, bringing the total support for the Initiative’s launch to $1 million.

The humanities do not belong to some elitist group…knowledge as a whole should be embraced.
– Ruth J. Simmons

The project, Enhancing the Humanities at PVAMU Through An African-American Studies Program Initiative, is designed to selectively infuse African American Studies content throughout the university’s liberal arts offerings. The initial concept for the program was conceived when Prairie View President Ruth J. Simmons called for the creation of an African-American Studies program in her first campus-wide address. Having directed Afro-American Studies at Princeton and Chaired the African-American Studies Department Visiting Committee at Harvard, President Simmons expressed surprise that the University was without such a program considering the University’s cultural legacy.

Scholars’ Voices Series
When and Where I Enter at 35: A Symposium in Honor of Paula Giddings


Gloria Steinem, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Elsa Barkley Brown, Renita Weems and Cheryl Wall

On November 8th, the African American Studies Initiative at Prairie View A&M University will be hosting “When and Where I Enter at 35: A Symposium in Honor of Paula Giddings.” This will be an opportunity to acknowledge the importance and influence of this groundbreaking book that chronicles the history of black women’s activism. For three and a half decades, it has served as a resource for anyone wanting to learn more about black women’s role in American political history. When and Where I Enter’s impact on black women and girls seeking to learn more about their own history has been invaluable and this event will bring together leading black feminist scholars to discuss the origins of black women’s studies and the intellectual legacy of their work. There will be a morning panel discussion with Renita J. Weems, Elsa Barkley Brown and Cheryl Wall. It will also feature a poetry reading by Evie Shockley, who has credited When and Where I Enter as influential in her writing. There will also be a panel discussion between Professor Giddings and her most recent collaborators – Beverly Guy-Sheftall and Gloria Steinem. The day will be capped off with Giddings in conversation with President Ruth J. Simmons. This event is free and open to the public. Please share this information with anyone you believe might be interested in attending this event. Join the conversation online, tag us on all platforms @PVAMU and use #pvamuscholarsvoices.

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Scholars' Voices Series