Chronology


YearWhat happened
1969
  • University of Kansas creates a special degree in Black Studies in response to student protests and demands. The Black Studies Department was coordinated by two graduate students, Roderick Bush and Alfredteen Harrison.
1970
  • The Department of African Studies is established, with concentrations in African, Afro-American and Afro-Caribbean studies.
  • Dr. Jacob Gordon appointed Chair of the Department.
1972
  • The Kansas Board of Regents approves the Baccalaureate degree in African Studies.
1977
  • Langston Hughes Visiting Professorship established. Student, staff and faculty exchange program established with the University of Benin, Nigeria.
  • African Studies Task Force convenes to review the Department’s curriculum.
1980
  • Dr. Jacob Gordon retires from department Chair.
1980-81
  • Dr. John Janzen serves as department Chair
1981
  • Dr. Arthur Drayton becomes the department Chair
1986
  • Name changed to Department of African & African-American Studies
1990-92
  • Receives Title VI faculty/development grant
1992-94
  • Receives grant renewal
  • Department establishes a body of courtesy professors.
1994
  • Attains US Dept. Of Education National Resource Center (for African Studies) status with a 3-year Title VI grant. Dr. Drayton becomes both Chair and Director.
1995
  • Department establishes the Mid-America Alliance for African Studies (MAAAS) with Dr. Drayton as first president.
  • Dr. Sadye Logan becomes Associate Chair.
  • First African Studies Summer Institute for Teachers held with Dr. Beverly Mack as Institute director.
1996
  • Dr. Drayton retires from department Chair. Dr. Peter Ukpokodu becomes Interim department Chair.
1997
  • Twelve teachers taken to Ghana under the Group Project Abroad under Dr. Drayton. Camellata Williams makes an award-winning video based on the experience.
  • Dr. Ukpokodu becomes Chair of the Department and interim Director of the Center.
  • The Department's Vision Statement is formally approved by the College for the creation and recognition of the African Studies Resource Center, the Langston Hughes African-American Studies Center, and the Institute for Haitian Studies.
  • KU – University Gaston Berger linkage established, directed by Dr. Fiona McLaughlin.
1998
  • Dr. Janzen, second Chair of the Department, becomes Director of the African Studies Resource Center.
  • Mr. Chico Herbison becomes Interim Director of the Langston Hughes African-American Studies Center.
  • Kansas Chapter of the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH) established with Dr. Gordon as Chapter President.
1999
  • The Department (in association with the Langston Hughes Center and the Center for Multicultural Leadership) co-organizes the National Conference of the ASALH in Detroit, Michigan, with Dr. Gordon as National Chair.
  • KU Arabic language Summer linkage established at the Bourguiba Institute in Tunisia, directed by Dr. Mack.
  • The Department and School of Journalism cooperatively establish a linkage with the University of Legon, Ghana, directed by Ms. Adrienne Rivers.
2000
  • Department hosts millennial conference of the African Literature Association (ALA) that brought two Nobel Prize winners (Wole Soyinka and Derek Walcott) and other literary luminaries from Africa and the African Diaspora. Event broadcast to a world audience by the Voice of America (VOA).
  • Department is approved to offer five minor concentrations.
  • Dr. Arthur Drayton, third Chair of the Department, retires from the University.
  • Department receives a $12,000 grant for student scholarships.
2002
  • KU Arabic Summer Institute established at Al-Akhawayn University, Morocco, directed by Dr. Naima Omar.
  • Department receives a $7,000 grant for student scholarships.
2003
  • Officials from Kenyatta University, Nairobi ( Kenya), visit the Department for talks on establishing an exchange program with KU.
  • Department receives a $25,000 gift from Dr. Mohamed Marwa of Nigeria to establish the Marwa Africana Lecture Series.
  • Department receives a $10,000 grant for student scholarships.
2004
  • The College Committee on Graduate Studies and the College Assembly approve the proposal for an MA program in African and African-American Studies.
  • Dr. Gordon, founding Chair of the Department, retires from the University.
  • Department receives a $23,000 grant for student scholarships and on-line advising.
  • Undergraduate Research Forum is established, directed by Dr. Dorthy Pennington.
  • Department receives a Lawrence Sesquicentennial Celebration grant, directed by Dr. Pennington.
  • Department co-sponsors Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education 50th anniversary.
2005
  • Department co-Sponsors Kansas Department of Health and Environment's Minority Health Conference 2005: Connecting Kansas Communities.
  • Department receives $7,000 grant for student scholarships and online advising.
  • Civil Rights Lecture Mini-Series coordinated by Tasha Keathley.
  • African Arts Mini-Conference coordinated by Gitti Salami.
  • Department sponsors Leadership Lecture, "Leading a Language Program in an African University: Arabic at Al Akhawayn", by Dr. Abdellah Chekayri.
2006
  • Department receives $7,000 grant for student scholarships & online advising
2007
  • Department receives $6,000 grant for student scholarships.
  • Dr. Bryant Freeman, founding Director of Institute for Haitian Studies, retires from the University.
  • Kansas Board of Regents approves new Graduate Certificate Program on African Studies for the Department. The program is run for the Department by the Kansas African Studies Center.
2008
  • Department appoints Dr. Shawn Alexander as Interim Director of the Langston Hughes Center for African-American Studies.
  • Department receives $10,000 endowed gift from Dr. Chico Herbison for Scholarship for students in the multicultural scholars program. Dr. Herbison was a former colleague and had served as the Acting Director of the Langston Hughes Center for African-American Studies and as Director of the Multicultural Africana Scholars Program.
  • Department receives a $6,000 grant for student scholarships.
  • Ryan Rowen and Ebony Howard of our Department are two of the ten graduating seniors of the University of Kansas to receive the Chancellors Student Award in recognition of the students academic, volunteer and leadership accomplishments.
2009  
  • The MA program in African & African-American Studies is approved by the Kansas Board of Regents.
  • The BA/BGS concentration in Arabic and Islamic Studies is approved by the College for the Department.
  • The Langston Hughes Center for African-American Studies organizes a national symposium to mark the 100th anniversary of the NAACP.
  • The newly established Africana Leadership Institute of the Department holds its first workshop for international participants from Africa. It is directed by Aminu Gusau.
  • The Department receives a $10,000 grant for student scholarships and office assistance. 
  • Maria Beg, our major, won the top prize at KU Undergraduate Research competition.
  • Make it Funky Symposium is organized by Dr. Tony Bolden.
2010
  • The Department Arabic and Islamic Studies Concentration is approved by the Kansas Board of Regents. 
  • Department celebrates its 40th anniversary.
  • Department receives a $7,000 grant for student scholarships.
2011
  • Department receives $5,000 grant for student scholarships.
2012
  • The Department's External Program Review takes place. 
  • Department receives $4,000 grant for student scholarships. 
  • The Department awards $6,000 in scholarships.
  • The Department receives the External Review Report and writes the Kansas Board of Regents Academic Program Review.
  • Department appoints Dr. Shawn Alexander as Director of the Langston Hughes Center for African-American Studies.
  • Yi Li, associate professor from Central China Normal University, arrives as Visiting Scholar to conduct research on Richard Wright.
2013
  • Dr. Jessica Gerschultz conducts Arabic Calligraphy workshops from grant received in 2012.
  • Department receives $5,000 grant for student scholarships.
  • Dr. Beverly Mack receives $10,000 Hall Center Collaborative Grant.
  • Drs Shawn Alexander & Clarence Lang co-chair the ASALH national convention, held in Jacksonville, FL.
  • Dr. Shawn Alexander and the Langston Hughes Center receives Created Equal: American Civil Rights Struggle grant from the NEH and the Gilder Lerhman Institute of American History.
2015
  • Dr. Clarence Lang becomes Chair of the Department.
  • The Langston Hughes Center, in collaboration with the School of Business and Kansas Athletics, hosts the first annual Race and Sports symposium. Dr. Shawn Alexander organized the event.
2016
  • Dr. Shawn Alexander and the Langston Hughes Center receives a NEH grant from the NEH for a summer institute, entitled "Teaching the 'Long Hot Summer' of 1967 and Beyond.” Drs Clarence Lang and John Rury are co-directors.
2017
  • Dr. Beverly Mack retires from the University.
  • Department creates the Dr. Serge Francois Student Opportunity in Haitian Studies endowment fund.
2018
  • Dr. Clarence Lang becomes Interim Dean of the College.
  • Dr. Cécile Accilien becomes Interim Chair of the Department.
  • Department and the Institute of Haitian Studies creates Haiti Service-Learning Initiative.
  • Drs Brenda Wawire and Peter Ojiambo receives a STARTALK grant for the KU Kiswahili Language Academy.
2020
  • Dr. Shawn Alexander becomes Chair of the Department.
  • The Department's External Program Review takes place.
  • Department receives $10,000 grant for student scholarships.
2021
  • Department celebrates its 50th anniversary. (Delayed one year because of COVID).
  • Department creates the Spearman Family Student Resource and Support Fund.
  • The Department receives the External Review Report and writes the Kansas Board of Regents Academic Program Review.
  • Dr. Shawn Alexander co-chairs the ASALH national convention. (Convened virtually).
  • Department receives $13,500 grant for student scholarships.
  • Dr. Peter Ukpokodu receives a KU Racial Equity Research, Scholarship & Creative Activity Award.
2022
  • Department receives $50,000 endowed gift from Drs Nolen and Carole Ellison for the creation of the Ellison Family Academic Research Fund to support research of the Black experience in Kansas.
  • Dr. Amal El Haimeur receives a STARTALK grant for the KU Arabic Language Academy.
  • Department launches a new open access journal, Africana Annual and names Dr. James Yékú managing editor.
  • Dr. Peter Ukpokodu is named a Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor of African & African-American Studies.