Despite university budget cuts and a rise in anti-ethnic-studies sentiment, black-studies programs have held their ground in higher-education curricula. But while there has been substantial overall growth in the field during the last 40 years, it has happened primarily outside the community of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
“There’s activity going on [at HBCUs]; it’s just not as visible and as well supported as you might see at white institutions,” says Dr. James Stewart, national president of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.
Most HBCUs have established courses in black studies, but few have departments dedicated to the field, and only Howard and Clark Atlanta universities offer master’s programs. Howard is also the only HBCU to offer a doctoral program in African studies, which is offered by eight traditionally white institutions.
The bottom line is money.