Black Students and Black Studies: A Founding History, 1966-1970
Ibram X. Kendi

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University at Albany – SUNY

Primary Discipline

History of Education
Black Students and Black Studies, the first national historical study of the institutionalization of Black Studies in the late 1960s, will not be another narrative of student protests in the 1960s. Without question, protests were vital to the institutionalization of Black Studies. Without protests, Black Studies may not exist today. However, in the 1960s and in our national historical memory, the rapid melodramatic, loud, public, and headlines-snatching black student protests overshadowed the laborious, quiet, private, and headlines-alluding proposal writing and negotiations between students, faculty, and administrators. Protests were a dramatic end or interlude on most campuses. They were usually one-day ordeals in multi-year campaigns for Black Studies.Protests will be mentioned. Yet, the bulk of Black Students and Black Studies will narrate the bulk of the story—student proposal writing, presentations, debates, negotiations, and compromises. Significantly, the book will showcase the student as educational producer, as opposed to educational consumer, contributing to that growing body of educational research. Centrally, the book will argue that students did not merely protest for the new discipline, as is commonly submitted. They provided the earliest intellectual rationale and engaged in a serious intellectual offensive for the discipline. The vast majority of the Black Studies proposals, utilized as ideological and curricula blueprints to develop programs and departments, were written by students. They often presented these proposals to faculty and administrators and were compelled to defend and negotiate for the institutionalization of their ideas. Administrators and faculty often resisted these student ideas, rejecting student facility to invent curricula, and for ideological, political, pedagogical, and financial reasons. These students were unwavering in their convictions. Black Students and Black Studies will document this intellectual push among students, the pushback from faculty and administrators, and the compromises that gave birth to Black Studies.
About Ibram X. Kendi
Ibram X. Kendi is an assistant professor of Africana Studies at the University at Albany – SUNY, and a visiting scholar in Africana Studies at Brown University. He is the author of the award-winning book, The Black Campus Movement: Black Students and the Racial Reconstitution of Higher Education, 1965-1972. He has published twelve essays on the Black Campus Movement, black power, and intellectual history in books and academic journals, including the Journal of Social History, Journal of African American Studies, Journal of African American History, and The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture. He has earned research fellowships from the American Historical Association, Chicago’s Black Metropolis Research Consortium, Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis, and the Lyndon B. Johnson Library & Museum.

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