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The Department of African American Studies is committed to bringing academic research to the broadest possible audience, within and beyond the walls of the university. We believe that the deepest understanding of the complex reality of race in America requires a truly interdisciplinary approach, one that draws on history and literature, the social sciences and the arts.

Approved by the Board of Regents in 1970, the Department of African American Studies (formerly Afro-American Studies) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is an outgrowth of the student concern for relevance in higher education which was so dramatically evidenced on many college campuses during the late 1960s. Today, the department offers a wide variety of courses leading to both undergraduate and graduate degrees and is one of the most successful programs in the country.

Henry Ossawa Tanner Nora Neale Hurston W.E.B. Du Bois Ida B. Wells Spike Lee Marvin Gaye Fanne Lou Hamer

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Photo Credits, left to right

  1. Henry Ossawa Tanner, June 21, 1859–May 25, 1937, Public domain
  2. Zora Neale Hurston January 7, 1891–January 28, 1960, U.S. Library of Congerss [1], Reproduction Number LC-USZ62-62394 (b&w film copy neg.) Card #2004672085, Author unknown. No known restrictions on publication.
  3. W.E.B. Du Bois, February 23, 1868–August 27, 1963, Public Domain
  4. Ida B. Wells, July 16, 1862–March 25, 1931, Public Domain
  5. Spike Lee, born March 20, 1957, David Shankbone (the photo license allowing commercial and non-commercial use is public.)
  6. Marvin Gaye, April 2, 1939–April 1, 1984, E Azala Hackley Collection, Detroit Public Library.
  7. Fannie Lou Hamer, October 6, 1917–March 14, 1977, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University

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