VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Colleges and universities across the nation are planning to celebrate Black History Month and there’s another major milestone this year that should be added to the list of acknowledgements.
This year, colleges and universities are celebrating the 50th anniversary of black studies programs in the country —and we have our own right here in South Georgia.
This year, Valdosta State University is celebrating 23 years of their own African American Studies program.
We spoke to the director of the program, Tameka Hobbs, about the importance of African American studies programs across the country.
“When we talk about black studies, it really is a shift to bring marginalized groups a people, people of African descent into the curriculum, so that they can study themselves and really saying that we are worthy of study in the same way that these great white, European thinkers are," said Hobbs.
Hobbs is the Director of the African American Studies program at VSU and she alluded to the fact that they celebrate Black History Month all year long.
“We have an entire curriculum that uplifts and explores the experience of African and African American people," said Hobbs.
Hobbs says that it hasn’t always been that way.
“The very first was started at San Francisco State University out in California in 1968-69 and they had to fight for that program. They shut down the campus. They boycotted classes. There were police confrontations," said Hobbs.
Now they offer a variety of classes in on a variety of topics, such as courses on race and law enforcement, African American men in popular culture, Black Feminism and more.
“So, there’s quite a bit of diversity that we see in the curriculum because black people have a lot of history. We’ve been an integral part of this culture. We’ve developed our own culture and so we bring that to the classroom for our students," said Hobbs.
Hobbs even responded to those that may question the need of these programs, sharing that the historically higher education has shown preference of Eurocentric educational topics.
“White history, white psychology, white literature—you name it. And they may not be white studies by name but what we receive here is a very Eurocentric interpretation of some many elements of the human experience," said Hobbs.
The university shared that they are hosting a variety of programs coming up in honor of Black History month.
For more information on those, you can contact VSU because they are open to the public.