The Public Interest

Black Studies at San Francisco State

John H. Bunzel

Fall 1968

ON college campuses across the country today, black nationalism, still only in its earliest stages but emerging with considerable force and purpose, comes in many different sizes, shapes, and even colors. (It is no accident that in many quarters Negro is “out” and Black is “in,” or that the NAACP is sometimes referred to as the National Association for the Advancement of Certain People.) Yet one thing is clear: just as one finds black artists in the existing theater calling on one another to stop assimilating and imitating white standards, and instead to begin building cultural centers “where we can enjoy being free, open and black, where,” as actress and director Barbara Ann Teer put it, “we can literally ‘blow our mindswith blackness,” so one also finds black students in our existing academic institutions demanding a program of Black Studies- one that will not only lead to the affirmation of their own identity and self-esteem, but will recognize the new needs of the black community and thereby help to define the concept of “black consciousness.” Black Power, black nationalism, a black society m whatever meaning these terms will come to have for the whole of American society in the years ahead, the curricular idea of Black Studies will become the principal vehicle by which black students will press their claim for a black “educational renaissance” in colleges and universities throughout the nation.

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