September 12, 2013

Pan-African Studies celebrates 40th Anniversary, inducts first hall of fame members

By Cherrelle Marable–

The University of Louisville’s Pan-African studies (PAS) department celebrated their 40th anniversary. In honor of this historical marking, they welcomed the first members to the PAS Hall of Fame.

The late Dean J. Blaine Hudson, the late professor emeritus Jan Carew, fine arts and PAS professor emeritus Robert Douglas, history and PAS professor Dr. Susan Herlin and Dr. Yvonne Jones were all honorees and the first to be inducted in  the PAS Hall of Fame.

The event took place inside the Chao Auditorium of the Ekstrom Library. Students, faculty, and community leaders were all present. Mayor Greg Fisher was one of those present along with Attallah Shabazz, the eldest daughter of civil rights activist Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz.

The department of PAS received proclamations from the Mayor’s office of Louisville and the State Legislature of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Joy Carew, an associate professor of Pan-African studies at the University of Louisville was the coordinator of the PAS 40th anniversary Hall of Fame and Celebration of the Elders program.  Her husband, the late Jan Carew was one of the five being honored. Jan Carew was the first person to chair the department of African-American studies at Northwestern University and was an esteemed writer in his homeland of Guyana.

“The program was not just about a celebration of elders or inducting in the Hall of Fame, but it is also about having words from those whom support you including those on campus, community leaders and others. The departments would not exist without the support of the community”, said Carew.

The celebration stems from the 1970s when there was a call for more students and faculty of color to come forth on campus. “Demands” were being made for a more inclusive curriculum, giving students a chance to learn about black history. Now the PAS core curriculum focuses on Africa and the African Diaspora (i.e., persons of African ancestry in the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America).  In addition, PAS offers field study and internships experiences, and offer special courses on research methods, race, gender, diversity, and inter-cultural education.

Carew said that things like the 1963 March on Washington, where the crowd was predominantly black students had many sympathetic white students and faculty who were pushing for this because they felt like having these diverse curriculums at the university would enrich the learning of students.”

The late Blaine Hudson was also remembered on that night. In 1969, Hudson was arrested and expelled after occupying the same dean’s office he would later hold as the dean of the college Arts and Sciences.

As people can see the department came a long way since they were founded in 1973. All five people inducted into the PAS Hall of Fame have paved the way for students. They are the foundation of one of the many outstanding departments across the campus.

“The first “Black Studies” courses were offered in summer 1969 in response to the demands of African American students and their community allies. Black Studies often referred to as Afro-American, Africana, African American, and Pan-African Studies have now emerged across the nation.

A movement that started 40 years ago became the development of the discipline of Pan African Studies at U of L, something the school can still take pride in.

I think the University of Louisville understands that the most multiracial and multiethnic America that we see today, you cannot be a serious university and not have a good women and gender studies, good black studies and good Latino studies. You simply cannot have it, but the University of Louisville has those things and we are very proud of it”, said Dr. Ricky Jones.

Attallah Shabazz, daughter of Civil Rights leader Malcom X was the honorary guest speaker for the Pan African Studies inaugural Hall of Fame inductees. PHOTO BY JULIA BURTON/LOUISVILLE CARDINAL


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