News

8/31/2020

 

 

August 30, 2020

Dear Athletic Director Barnhart, Coach Calipari, Coach Stoops, and Coach Mitchell:

The Faculty and Staff in the African American and Africana Studies (AAAS) Program at the University of Kentucky invite you to begin a dialogue with our greater UK community on sports and social justice.  The recent confrontations between the police and Black communities, including the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmad Arbery, has moved many professional athletes to comment on the impact of police brutality on their lives.  Our empathy recognizes and acknowledges the statements of anguish shared by Chris Paul, Doc Rivers, and Chris Webber.   Student-athletes at UK also want and need to talk about these events. The AAAS Program at UK has long served as a moral center on campus, and it is staffed with experts on race, sports, and political

8/20/2020
UK student, Makalani Bandele, was featured on Poem-a-Day on August 19, 2020.  You can listen to an audio recording of the poem, sample collected from a superfund site, here.
8/6/2020

By Jay Blanton

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 5, 2020) — University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto and faculty leaders in the African American and Africana Studies (AAAS) program on Wednesday announced the establishment of the proposed Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies — a multidisciplinary program that will highlight UK’s growing research around issues of race and racism.

Capilouto and AAAS faculty on Thursday announced an initial $250,000 investment as seed money to leverage additional investment to help the institute move forward with a critical series of initiatives. The creation of a new institute, ultimately, must receive approval from UK’s University Senate.

The interdisciplinary institute will establish research clusters across the campus and promote UK’s growing research and scholarship on topics

8/3/2020
 

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 3, 2020) — This summer, the United States has seen nationwide demonstrations and protests in light of, among other things, the killing of George Floyd during an arrest in Minneapolis May 25. Local protests, including ones in response to the death of former University of Kentucky student Breonna Taylor during a "no-knock" warrant raid in Louisville on March 13, quickly spread across the country, and The New York Times cited polls that estimated, as of July 3, between 15 and 26 million people had participated at some point in the demonstrations, making them the largest in U.S. history.

On this week’s episode of "Behind the

7/23/2020

Dear President Capilouto,

The Faculty of the African-American and Africana Studies (AAAS) program at the University of Kentucky, in the names of former UK student Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, David McAtee, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Dominique Fells, Riah Milton, and too many others, strongly condemn the unnecessary and racist violence that is daily inflicted upon Black Americans by white vigilantes and police who are paid to protect and serve.  We also recognize that police violence serves as the manifestation of broader systemic racism in the United States that leads to mass incarceration, economic inequality, and health inequities that disproportionately affect Black people.

We believe that our expertise can help the University as it faces the challenge of eradicating racism on campus. While the majority of us work in the College of Arts and Sciences, our ranks

6/19/2020
A portrait of Vanessa Holden.

By Lindsey Piercy

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 19, 2020) ⁠— It’s been said that history can help us understand the present and inform the future.

Let’s travel back to April 9, 1865. At the Appomattox Court House in Virginia, Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his Confederate troops to the Union’s Ulysses S. Grant — ending an excruciating four-year-long battle.

The Civil War came to a close, but a number of African Americans across the United States remained enslaved — forced to continue as if freedom didn’t exist.

This was especially the case in Texas, where thousands of enslaved people weren’t freed until June 19, 1865. Their long-awaited celebration would serve as the foundation of Juneteenth.

Today, the holiday, which celebrates the abolition of slavery, coincides with protests across the U.S.

6/11/2020

By Richard LeComte

Three University of Kentucky professors have received the College of Arts & Sciences Award for the Promotion of Diversity and Inclusion. The award recognizes a faculty member who has helped to develop a more diverse atmosphere in the College.

The College Inclusivity Committee reviewed the nominations. The awardees are: 

6/3/2020

The College of Arts and Sciences is committed to learning and working environments that are diverse, inclusive, and equitable for students, staff, and faculty.

We stand in solidarity with those working to confront systemic racial injustice in our communities and in the United States. We recognize the disproportionate burden of racism and other forms of violence on many within our A&S community during this time. We affirm our support of faculty, students, staff, and alumni in standing against all forms of racism, discrimination, and bias.

During this time of pandemic and continued racism and violence that especially impact marginalized communities of color, we recognize the disproportionate impact on Black and African-American people. In the context of the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and here in Kentucky, Breonna Taylor and David McAtee, we affirm that

5/19/2020

By Madison Dyment

Aria Halliday, who will be joining the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies and the African American and Africana Studies program in the fall, has been named a 2020 Career Enhancement Fellow by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. The department is part of the College of Arts & Sciences.

The fellowship program attempts to encourage minority junior faculty members and others dedicated to eradicating racial disparities in the arts and humanities. Halliday was awarded the year-long fellowship through this program. The grant is $30,000 over one year with an additional $1,500 for research or travel, a mentor and attendance at a conference connecting all fellows and mentors.

Halliday, born in Indianapolis and raised in Durham, North Carolina,  received a B.A. in Africana Studies from Davidson College, a M.A. in American Studies

5/12/2020

By Richard LeComte

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 12, 2020) — As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, we — as a society — search for answers. COVID-19, first and foremost, is a public health crisis. But it also leaves us with pressing questions beyond health care.

The University of Kentucky is home to some of the world’s most renowned thought leaders, and they stand ready to answer those questions.

On Thursday, May 14, the College of Arts and Sciences will launch the “A&S From Anywhere” virtual speaker series to keep the campus community — and anyone interested in expanding their knowledge — apprised of the latest ideas on COVID-19 and its effects.

“We in the college recognize our responsibility in these stressful times to fulfill our mission of sharing our research

5/5/2020

By Richard LeComte

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 5, 2020) — Sydney Sayre appreciates the history she’s making in May as she graduates as the University of Kentucky's first African American and Africana Studies (AAAS) major in the College of Arts & Sciences.

“The first black studies course took place at UK in 1969, and in 2020 I’ll be the first person to graduate as a major in African American and Africana studies,” said Sayre, who grew up on a horse farm and considers Lexington her hometown. “I think history is all about new beginnings and change and that is what this program is doing at UK — making history.”

African American and Africana studies was available as a minor until 2019, when it became a major. Sayre, who is double majoring in history, accumulated enough credits to be the first student to earn the full major.

4/21/2020
A portrait of Anastasia Curwood outdoors.

By Jenny Wells-Hosley

The University of Kentucky Center for Graduate and Professional Diversity Initiatives and the Graduate School's Office of Diversity and Inclusion have named Anastasia Curwood the 2020 Dr. Doris Wilkinson Faculty Inclusive Excellence Award winner. This award honors faculty who enhance the university through their inclusive leadership and vision, particularly in the realm of graduate and professional education.

"I’m incredibly humbled to receive the award, especially because I was nominated by my student," said Curwood, who is an associate professor in the Department of History 

4/8/2020

The Center for Graduate and Professional Diversity Initiatives and the Graduate School's Office of Diversity are proud to announce Dr. Anastasia Curwood as the 2020 Doris Wilkinson Faculty Inclusive Excellence Award winner.  Read the full story here

 

3/4/2020

By Nate Harling and Lindsey Piercy

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 4, 2020) — Bertin Louis Jr. has received a prestigious position that is giving him national exposure. The director of undergraduate studies for African American and Africana Studies (AAAS) and associate professor of anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kentucky has been named editor of “Conditionally Accepted.”

The Inside Higher Education column serves as an online space for scholars

2/20/2020

By Richard LeComte

A new Africana Saturday School begins this weekend at the historic downtown Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 22.

The Saturday School will be a series of double lectures given once a month through May. The theme for spring 2020 is “New Visions for Black Men: From Maleness to Manhood.” Events start at 9 a.m. and are free to the public.

Frank X Walker, organizer of the event and poet and University of Kentucky English professor in the College of Arts & Sciences, will kick off the series with a talk and reading titled “Honor Thy Mother & Father: Making the Case for a New Vision.” UK faculty participating in the series include Derrick White and Gerald Smith, both UK history professors as well as members of the UK Black

12/2/2019

This year, the College of Arts & Sciences celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Over the last 20 years, we have recognized 79 alumni and faculty whose
contributions to the College, University, Commonwealth and beyond are far-reaching. Over the next few weeks, I will be highlighting each of this year’s inductees. Today, I am honored to recognize Gerald Smith.

Gerald was born in Lexington, Ky., and graduated from Henry Clay High School. He attended the University of Kentucky as an undergraduate and graduate student, and received his B.A. (1981), M.A. (1983), and Ph.D. (1988) degrees in history. During his time as a student at UK, he served as Polemarch (President) of the undergraduate chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., and as secretary of the Black Student Union. He was also a disc jockey for the Graduate

11/21/2019

By Lindsey Piercy

Amy Murrell Taylor, an accomplished professor, historian and author at the University Kentucky, can add winner of one of the most coveted awards for the study of global slavery to her remarkable list of accomplishments and accolades.

Taylor — who was recently appointed the T. Marshall Hahn, Jr. Professor in the UK College of Arts and Sciences — has been awarded the prestigious Frederick Douglass Book Prize for “Embattled Freedom: Journeys through the Civil War’s Slave Refugee Camps” (UNC Press, 2018). The award is presented annually by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the Gilder Lehrman Center for Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition at Yale University.

“Past

10/25/2019

By Meredith Weber

A portrait unveiling of civil rights pioneer Lyman T. Johnson highlighted the University of Kentucky's 29th annual Lyman T. Johnson Torch of Excellence Awards Banquet Oct. 11 at the Gatton Student Center.

The UK Alumni Association Lyman T. Johnson African American Alumni Group honored students and alumni during the awards ceremony as part of the 2019 Lyman T. Johnson Homecoming Celebration. 

UK’s academic colleges and units selected one African American alum whose faith, hard work and determination has positively affected the lives of people on the UK campus, the city, state or nation. These individuals received the Lyman T. Johnson Torch of Excellence Award. These units also chose an African American student within their respective colleges/departments whose academic achievement and ability to impact the lives of

9/19/2019

By Ryan Girves

The University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, in partnership with the Office for Institutional Diversity, welcomes noted African American scholar, UK alumnus and former president of Prairie View A&M University, George Wright. In recognition of the 70th anniversary of integration at the university, Wright is a visiting professor at UK for the 2019-2020 academic year.

A Lexington native, Wright received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UK in history and his doctoral degree in history from Duke University. In 2004, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from UK and was later inducted into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 2005. 

Wright has touched the lives of thousands and has had a tremendous impact in the lives of students during

9/18/2019

By Lindsey Piercy

Expanding on the University of Kentucky's 70 Years of Integration series, the College of Arts and Sciences is commemorating 50 years of Black Studies at UK.

In 1968, African American and Africana Studies (AAAS) began with an interdisciplinary course, Afro-American Life and Culture. Later that year, the Black Student Union launched a campaign for more courses. As a result of their successful efforts, the African American Studies and Research Program was born. The program, founded by Emeritus Professor Doris Wilkinson, would eventually become African American and Africana Studies.

Students can now major and minor in AAAS — opening a

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