The creation of the Department of African American Studies (AAS) at Georgia State University is a direct result of the persistence, fortitude and commitment of the student-activists who sought social change at Georgia State University. Since its formal inception in 1994, AAS has made tremendous strides in fulfilling the University’s advisory committee on African American Studies’ mandate “to become a regionally and ultimately a nationally recognized department of African-American Studies.”
The Department of African American Studies has enriched the intellectual and cultural life on campus and in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area in several ways:
- It has hosted national academic conferences, sponsored lectures, been a model of interdisciplinary collaboration and developing community linkages with such organizations as the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History; Hammond House Galleries and Resource of African American Art; Malcolm X Grassroots Movement; the Federation of Southern Cooperatives; The United States Human Rights Network; Project South-Institute for the Elimination of Poverty and Genocide; and Forever Family (formerly Aid to Children of Imprisoned Mothers).
- From 2002 to 2011, the department housed the national office of the National Council for Black Studies (NCBS), the premier professional association of Africana Studies.
- Students have won national essay contests and participated in national and international scholarly conferences, as well as hosted informative and stimulating campus programming through its majors and affiliate student organization, Sankofa Society.
- The department has also incorporated a study abroad program to expand the influence of African-American Studies throughout the Diaspora.
A dedicated faculty, outstanding staff, enthusiastic students has indeed propelled the Department on to the national landscape of the discipline in major ways. Continued faculty, staff and student participation in civic engagement and social justice advocacy remains one of the foremost keystone principles of the Department of African-American Studies.