The Public Interest

Black studies revisited

Anita Susan Grossman & John H. Bunzel

Spring 1997

NEARLY 30 years after their inception in the campus disorders of the 1960s, black-studies programs continue to be a subject of controversy—at least in those departments that promote Afrocentrism. To be sure, black studies means different things on different campuses.  Gerald Early, director of the African and African-American Studies program at Washington University, has described the goal of black studies and higher education generally as, "not therapy for the sick, nor fair play for the historically abused and misinterpreted, not power for the ‘subversives’ to oust the white men and give blacks an alternate world, but rather the quest for truth and understanding, undertaken ... by passionate believers in liberty, in the right of the individual conscience, in the need for the coming together of groups, and in responsibility for the society in which we work."

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