The Power and Beauty of an Africana Studies Degree
A famous poet once said, “Knowledge is power.” The
Department of Africana Studies at the University at Albany motivates students
(majors, minors, and all who love knowledge) to learn and to enter the real
world to serve. Our Department enrolls students from all over the world who
drink deep from our course offerings. In our nationally-ranked Department,
students learn about Africa’s ways of life, about African American’s ways of
life, about African languages, about black religion, about black arts, literature,
psychology, black history, the law and the black community, public speaking,
critical thinking, expository writing, race theory and social thought,
geography of Africa, black popular culture, statistics, among many other areas
concerning Africa and black America.
Greta Petry states in The Albany
Magazine, “Since its founding in the 1960’s, UAlbany’s Department of
Africana Studies has embraced high academic standards and a respect for all.
The Department remains consistently known for excellence. UAlbany’s Africana
Studies program was the first in the State University of New York System to
grant the master’s degree in Africana Studies. The Department ranks first in
its field nationally for graduate degree conferrals and in the top ten for
undergraduate conferrals.” External reviewers have objectified and validated
the quality of our undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Our Department
boasts a student body that hails from countries all over the world, and our
graduates work in law, medicine, education, public service, the private sector,
and a host of other professions.
Who are some of our Africana Studies graduates? What are
they doing? Kelly Bates graduated wit ha bachelors degree (Phi Beta Kappa) from
the University at Albany and then earned her law degree from Boston University
(all expenses paid). She is chief administrator at Emerson College in
Michael Tillotson earned his master’s degree from the
University at Albany, then went on to Temple University, where he earned his
Ph.D. degree in Africana Studies. He is an Assistant Professor at the
University of Pittsburgh, where he will earn tenure.
Risa Faussette earned the master’s degree in Africana
Studies from UAlbany and then earned a
Ph.D. degree in History from Binghamton University. She is a tenured Professor
of History at The College of Saint Rose.
Rukayatu Tijani earned the law degree from the University of
California at Berkeley.
Lynn Gilmore Canton is the Former Executive Director of the
Federal Management Agency (appointed by President Bill Clinton).
Adewale Troutman earned the M.D. from the New Jersey Medical
School. Dr. Troutman is Director of the Louisiana Metro Health Department.
Crystal Campbell earned the MFA from the University of
California. She has worked as an artist abroad, as well as in the United
Kristina Daniels, a clinical psychologist, earned a graduate
degree also from the University of Chicago.
Our graduates are successful after graduation. They continue
to learn and to make lucrative salaries. But there are also other famous
persons who majored in Black Studies, as The Journal of Blacks in Higher
Education reported in the summer of 2009. It lists Black Studies majors and
their Alma Maters: Angela Bassett Academy Award actress finished Yale; Jonah
Edelman, former Rhodes Scholar, finished Yale; he is founder of Stand for
Children; Jendayi Frazer is a Distinguished Professor at Carnegie Mellon
University; he earned the Africana Studies degree from Stanford University.
Frazer is a former U.S. Ambassador to South Africa. Dwight Hopkins earned the
Africana Studies degree from Harvard University. He is a Professor of Theology
at the University of Chicago. Mae Jamison earned the Africana Studies degree
from Stanford University. She is a physician and astronaut. Gloria Naylor
earned the Africana Studies degree at Yale. She is best known for The Women
of Brewster Place. Finally, Claudia Thomas, who earned the Africana Studies
degree from Vassar College, is the first black female orthopedic surgeon in America.
Says The Journal of Black Studies, “The message is clear. A black
studies degree does not limit an undergraduate to a career in which the only
career is teaching the subject. Students who major in black studies, as is the
case with students who major in liberal arts or the humanities, do go on to do
just about anything.”
The Department of Africana Studies offers a
multi-disciplinary degree which prepares students for any field of endeavor.
They learn at the University at Albany and in the real world that “knowledge is
Leonard A. Slade, Jr.
22 April 2015
Keynote Address by the Governor General Hall of Jamaica at UAlbany
* Assistant Professor of African-American Studies at SUNYA from 1969-72.
Mr. Gilliam developed and taught courses in Civil Rights/Constitutional Law, and Political/Economic Development.
Ahati N. N. Toure. Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Africana History and Black Studies, Department of History, Political Science and Philosophy, Delaware State University Alumnus Speaker at The Department of Africana Studies' 40th Anniversary Dinner/ Dance Gala held on Saturday, September 26, 2009