After years of being regulated to the sidelines, the Africana studies program finally is getting the University’s attention. The Columbian School this week hired James Miller as director of Africana studies. This appointment comes after grassroots efforts by the Black People’s Union and the Organization of African Students. The two groups jointly lobbied the Columbian School for greater attention to be focused on the program. Their efforts have paid off.
For years the GW Bulletin listed a variety of classes students could take for an Africana studies minor. The only problem was these classes rarely, if ever, were actually offered. Students were hard-pressed to find the 21 hours necessary to fulfill the requirements, yet University literature was never changed to reflect those difficulties. Now that there is a full-time director of the program, students who were nervous about taking Africana studies classes because of the infrequency of their appearance will register for them next year.
Miller’s appointment hopefully will in turn boost the program. Miller has published extensively about African-American literature and is writing a book about Richard Wright. The Africana studies program has 13 professors, many interested students and much potential. The appointment of Miller is a good step toward realizing that potential.