African American Studies Initiative

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.

Symposium: Scholars’ Voices Series
African American Culture and History at Prairie View A&M University

The African American Studies Program initiative at Prairie View A&M University focuses on providing an interdisciplinary study of the experiences of the people of African descent in America and abroad. Scholarly activities provide students, faculty and the PVAMU community with a fundamental understanding of the social, economic, cultural and historical issues framing the contributions of African American communities in America. Activities expand the breadth of knowledge of the full PVAMU community to the innumerable significant achievements made by descendants of Africa in literature, technology, social and natural sciences as well as art and music, enhancing the focus on humanities at an 1890’s Land Grant University. The Scholars’ Voices Series promotes intellectual awareness and sensitivity to the dynamic experiences of the descendants of Africa in America and abroad. Join the conversation online, tag us on all platforms @PVAMU and use #pvamuscholarsvoices.

Nell Painter

Nell Painter
Edwards Professor of American History, Princeton University

October 16, 2018
Alvin I. Thomas Administration Building, Julius W. Becton, Jr. Auditorium

Cornel West

Cornel West
Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice, Union Theological Seminary, and Professor Emeritus, Princeton University

January 18, 2019
Willie A. Tempton, Sr. Memorial Student Center, Opal Johnson Smith Auditorium

W. Gabriel Selassie I

W. Gabriel Selassie I
Ralph Bunche Associate Professor of U.S. History and African American Studies, Los Angeles City College

February 21, 2019
Don K. Clark Building (Juvenile Justice), Auditorium