Fabulous 50: First Black Studies Classes Offered

Technician from September 17, 1969 announcing the first Black Studies courses

Technician from September 17, 1969 announcing the first Black Studies courses

50 years ago, the first Black Studies classes were offered at NC State University.  The four new offerings included "Black American Literature," "The Afro-American in America," "Black Americans in American Politics," and "Black Ideology."  

The 1970-1972 Undergraduate Course Catalog contains a description of the new classes
The 1970-1972 Undergraduate Course Catalog contains a description of two of the new classes

Prior to 1969, NC State students could take Black Studies classes through Shaw University and Saint Augustine's College, as part of an arrangement with the Cooperating Raleigh Colleges program.  In June of 1968, Dr. Stanly Suval proposed that the History Department begin offering a class on African American history.  Department head Ralph Greenlaw and Professor Stuart Noblin were also instrumental in getting the classes into the curriculum, as noted in a Technician article from February 14, 1969.  Dr. Greenlaw stated, "We were aware of movements on other campuses and felt that we should begin discussing the matter too, since it does represent a significant aspect of American history.  There was no outside pressure - all it takes to find out that there's interest in black studies is to read the newspapers."

A minor in African American Studies was established in the fall of 1988. This interdisciplinary minor required students to take courses in both history and English literature.  Today, Interdisciplinary Studies offers a degree concentration in Africana Studies.

For more sources on African American history at NC State, see our historical timeline and check out our archival and Rare and Unique Digital Collections including fully digitized copies of the Nubian Message.