September 30, 2021

African American Studies Program celebrates its 50th year

By: Mykayla Capeles

Luther Battiste made history 50 years ago as a South Carolina student when he convinced the university to create the African American Studies Program.

“We advocated for an African American Studies Program,” Battiste says. “We researched what other colleges were doing and traveled to meet with students, faculty, and administrators at the University of North Carolina and Duke. We found the best program to be at Yale University. We traveled to Yale and met with students, faculty, and administrators.”

Before that, Battiste and his roommate Harry Wright formed the Association of Afro-American Students (AFRO) to promote African American heritage and create a safe space for Black students on-campus. Battiste’s movement has created a safe place for future students that come.

Now 50 years later, Battiste says he is proud of the program he helped build. “I have watched the program develop from a distance with great admiration,” Battiste says. “I am so pleased to see the continued maturation of the program that has produced outstanding alumni who are making a difference.”

Read the full story, written by Rose Cisneros, on the College of Arts and Sciences website.

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