CSUN Africana Studies Depart. to Unveil Memorial Plaque Honoring Founding

Between Sierra Hall and Jerome Richfield - 1A plaque celebrating the anniversary of the formation of Africana studies at California State University, Northridge will be unveiled at a ceremony on Friday, Nov. 4, at the university.

The dedication will honor the efforts of students, faculty and staff whose activism in 1968 led to the creation of what is now known as the Department of Africana Studies. It will be followed by a march to the Black House on campus, a teach-in about the “Storm at Valley State” and performances.

The plaque dedication is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. between Sierra Hall and Jerome Richfield Hall on the west side of the campus at 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. The plaque will formally be installed during Black History Month in 2023.

“Cementing the legacy of Black student activism, coalition building and the advocacy of the founding faculty of the Afro-American Studies Department (now Africana Studies), we at California State University, Northridge honor and celebrate the Black Student Movement for equitable, inclusive and culturally literate education at colleges and universities across the nation,” said Marquita Gammage, chair of the Department of Africana Studies.

“In the 1960s,” she continued, “Black student leadership, the Black Student Union and ally student groups challenged the university to diversify its faculty, increase Black student enrollment, and invest in Africana Studies and Ethnic Studies to ensure that students gained an inclusive education grounded in intellectual understandings of diverse human experiences and cultures. Their sacrifices transformed higher education.”

Cedric Hackett, professor in Africana Studies and director of the DuBois-Hamer Institute for Academic Achievement, agreed.

“I am appreciative of the donors who made this happen, including the college of Social & Behavioral Sciences, the Educational Opportunity program, Glenn Omatsu and various community members,” Hackett said. “I am equally excited to have Barbara Rhodes and Rehema Gray, two of our founding faculty, at this event.”

The plaque dedication will culminate the 53rd annual Africana Studies Week at CSUN. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Afrofuturism: Remixing Sankofa,” looking to the past to understand how to move forward.

Beginning Tuesday, Nov. 1, through Friday, Nov. 4, the Africana studies department will host a series of events around the theme. Events include a discussion of Afrofuturism with guest speaker Ayana Jamieson, assistant professor of ethnic and women’s studies at Cal Poly Pomona,  beginning at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1, via webinar.

A panel discussion with alumni titled “Transformation of Africana Studies and Self” will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 11 a.m., also via webinar.

For more information on the plaque dedication and Africana Studies Week, visit https://www.csun.edu/social-behavioral-sciences/africana-studies/events/53rd-annual-africana-studies-week-afrofuturism

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