UMass Amherst AfroAm

UMass Amherst AfroAm Established in 1970, we remain one of the largest Africana Studies departments in the world offering BA, MA and PhD degrees. We are named for scholar-activist and native son William Edward Burghardt Du Bois born and raised in Western Massachusetts.

The W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies is one of the largest such departments in the country, comprehensively offering a BA major/minor, MA, and PhD degrees for all students who wish in-depth knowledge of the history and culture of black people in the Americas and the worldwide African Diaspora.

#Juneteenth2020
06/16/2020
WHAT JUNETEENTH MEANS TO ME – Amherst Indy

#Juneteenth2020

OPINION WHAT JUNETEENTH MEANS TO ME 3 days ago Amilcar Shabazz Photo: Twitter Amilcar Shabazz Ten years ago I met Ed and Vira Cage at a Juneteenth Family Fun Day they had organized that took place in Groff Park. I went to check out the event because Juneteenth was a personally meaningful holiday for...

The plan
06/16/2020
UMASS ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR FALL OPENING – Amherst Indy

The plan

NEWS UMASS ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR FALL OPENING 3 days ago Amherst Indy DuBois Library at UMass Amherst. Photo: Umass.edu Source: UMass News and Media The University of Massachusetts Amherst released on Monday a detailed Preliminary Planning Report as it moves to finalize plans to reopen campus in the f...

Remembering Robert S Cox today with Sid Ferreira and Banzi Pires
06/15/2020

Remembering Robert S Cox today with Sid Ferreira and Banzi Pires

The BSU at Amherst College had a tough struggle this past semester, but did win some demands the students sought. Peace ...
06/11/2020
#IntegrateAmherst: An Update on Progress| Amherst Student

The BSU at Amherst College had a tough struggle this past semester, but did win some demands the students sought. Peace & blessings; don't dive up the fight!

Opinion#IntegrateAmherst: An Update on Progressby Black Student Union, | May 1, 2020 The #IntegrateAmherst series comes to an end with the BSU sharing the progress that has been made so far as a result of their efforts and the dialogue they have started. We have good news. President Biddy Martin has...

Say their names and learn about their work!
06/08/2020
8 influential black women with disabilities

Say their names and learn about their work!

We compiled a list of black disabled women who are changing the world through their actions and social media presence. Now more than ever it is important to amplify black voices, so we encourage you to give them a follow!

Dr. William H. “Smitty” Smith graduated from UMass with a Ph.D. in education. He is the founding executive director of t...
06/07/2020

Dr. William H. “Smitty” Smith graduated from UMass with a Ph.D. in education. He is the founding executive director of the National Center for Race Amity which promotes the Baha’i-inspired concept of unity, rooted in fellowship and meaningful relationships across cultural divides. “Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit there from.” ― Baha'u'llah

Medal of Honor presented to Dwight Allen from Amilcar Shabazz of UMass Amherst.

06/04/2020
UMass Amherst

#WEBDDAFRO students, you are change we’ve been struggling for. Dare to struggle....

The future is in your hands. At the University of Massachusetts Amherst, we strive not to simply be different, but to make a difference. How can you change the world?

Why not UMass? Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy is the climate right for us to Be Revolutionary and patriotic in our admi...
05/24/2020
University of California Will Stop Using SAT, ACT

Why not UMass? Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy is the climate right for us to Be Revolutionary and patriotic in our admissions policies?

The board of regents voted to stop using the SAT and ACT college admissions exams, dealing a significant blow to the multibillion-dollar college admission testing industry.

#WEBDDAFRO Black Presence at UMass History Project #TBTh A look at the department in Spring of 1975
05/20/2020

#WEBDDAFRO Black Presence at UMass History Project #TBTh A look at the department in Spring of 1975

Recognizing & congratulating our colleagues in the Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate, UMass Amherst​ program. T...
05/15/2020

Recognizing & congratulating our colleagues in the Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate, UMass Amherst​ program. The following students completed certificates:
Zoe Shenk (Sociology, UMass): Addressing Anti-Blackness in Asian American Communities
Ann Liptak (English, UMass): Understanding the Experiences of Asian American Adoptees
Judy Ha (Hampshire College): "oc!"
Haenah Lee (Mt. Holyoke): "The Effects of Asian American Cultural Visibility"
Linda Zhang (Mt. Holyoke): "Tending the Ghosts: A Contemporary Adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth Through the Lens of Intergenerational Trauma and Transmission Within the Chinese American Community"

#WEBDDAFRO worthwhile viewing
05/15/2020
Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate, UMass Amherst

#WEBDDAFRO worthwhile viewing

Check out my new post at Asian-Nation that features recent zoom-inar panel discussions with several of my awesome UMass Amherst colleagues: "APA History, Activism, and Connections with the Black Community"

http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2020/05/apa-history-activism-connections-black-community/

To celebrate May as APA Heritage Month, I share a few video clips of recent Zoom-inar panel discussions in which I discuss issues related to forging connections with the Black community, the history of Asian American activism and the model minority image, and the importance of Asian American Studies programs.

Dear Class of 2020! We are excited to celebrate you all on Friday at 2pm. Here is a brief program: HIGHER GROUND: CELEBR...
05/15/2020

Dear Class of 2020! We are excited to celebrate you all on Friday at 2pm. Here is a brief program:

HIGHER GROUND: CELEBRATING THE DU BOIS DEPT CLASS OF 2020
Welcome – Stephanie Uku Shonekan, Chair
Special Alumni Message – Dr. Stephanie Y. Evans, PhD ‘03
Presentation of undergraduate majors and minors –
Presentation of our graduate students (PhD and MA) –
Words of wisdom from our faculty

Donations in his memory may be made to the Robert S Cox Special Collections Fund. An on-campus celebration of his life i...
05/15/2020
Robert S. Cox, Head of Special Collections and University Archives, Dies at Age 61

Donations in his memory may be made to the Robert S Cox Special Collections Fund. An on-campus celebration of his life is expected to occur at a later date.

Robert S. Cox, head of Special Collections and University Archives at the UMass Amherst Libraries for the past 16 years, died May 11 after an extended illness. He was 61 years old.

Jennie Moss really came of age as a student journalist in this her senior year at UMass. Congrats on surviving! For this...
05/13/2020
Unlearning the romanticizing of MLK

Jennie Moss really came of age as a student journalist in this her senior year at UMass. Congrats on surviving! For this article she interviewed #WEBDDAFRO prof. John Bracey.

Opinion: The Martin Luther King that we celebrate today is a romanticized version of the true individual.

No Home for Hate! Amherst Branch Naacp Vira Douangmany Lily Tang Sovann-Malis Loeung Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center Amhe...
05/13/2020

No Home for Hate! Amherst Branch Naacp Vira Douangmany Lily Tang Sovann-Malis Loeung Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center Amherst Human Rights Commission Zach Steward

To our @umass community. We condemn these actions and are heartbroken by the hate & violence that has been shown towards the Asian/Asian American community. We stand with graduate students and believe that @umass has a responsibility in ensuring their students’ safety. People deserve to be safe in their homes and in their communities and these acts of violence are cowardly and should not be tolerated. #hateisavirus

In Memory of Dr. Frederick C. Tillis
05/06/2020
In Memory of Dr. Frederick C. Tillis

In Memory of Dr. Frederick C. Tillis

It was Dr. Tillis that brought the Fine Arts Center to life as an organization, helping to jump start some of the most successful arts initiatives the university has seen, including the Afro American Music and Jazz program (through the Music Dept.), the New World Theater, Augusta Savage Gallery, Asi...

#StandTogether Solidarity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us on Zoom at umass-amherst.zoom.us/j/94656118996 -...
05/03/2020

#StandTogether Solidarity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us on Zoom at umass-amherst.zoom.us/j/94656118996 -- Thanks Zach Steward! + Mxcc UMass Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center

Congratulations Chris Lehman! #WEBDDAFRO Strong
04/29/2020

Congratulations Chris Lehman! #WEBDDAFRO Strong

Our very first Minnesota Book Award winner of the evening is “Slavery's Reach: Southern Slaveholders in the North Star State” by Christopher P. Lehman. This title is part of the Minnesota Nonfiction category. Congratulations to Christopher and all the finalists! #mnbookawards

To purchase any of the Minnesota Nonfiction finalist books and support the authors as well as our ceremony bookseller Red Balloon Bookshop visit: https://www.redballoonbookshop.com/minnesota-book-awards-2020-finalists-minnesota-nonfiction

National Council for Black Studies
04/22/2020
National Council for Black Studies

National Council for Black Studies

At the Council, we mourn the passing of our longtime member & former board member Perry Hall. Here is an interview that gives some insight into the giant that now walks with our ancestors

Brick City Vanguard | University of Massachusetts Press
04/09/2020
Brick City Vanguard | University of Massachusetts Press

Brick City Vanguard | University of Massachusetts Press

Amiri Baraka, Black Music, Black ModernityJames SmethurstDetailsDescription Amiri Baraka is unquestionably the most recognized leader of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and one of the key literary and cultural figures of the postwar United States. While Baraka’s political and aesth...

Dr Crystal Harris
03/20/2020

Dr Crystal Harris

Such a delight to meet #DrIrmaMcClaurin renowned author, scholar, influencer and poet. Her workshop at #NCBS2020 on Public Writing and the Academic Career was so helpful and inspiring. #blackscholars #publicscholars #writinglife #academiclife #blackfeminists #thankablackwoman

03/20/2020

SGA Undergraduate Academic Policy Recommendations Made on Behalf of Student Body Concerning COVID-19

Account Adjustments:
Students who do not remain on-campus shall receive an account adjustment for the cost of their housing and associated fees for the remainder of the semester.
Students who do not remain on-campus shall receive an account adjustment for their dining and associated fees for the remainder of the semester.
All Students shall be compensated for any consequential difference in tuition and fees pursuant to the transition from in-person to online classes and campus operations for the remainder of the semester.
Students who have chosen to study abroad in the Spring of 2020 shall be reimbursed for all expenses, including return travel costs and program expenses.
Should Summer 2020 Study Abroad Programs be canceled, any student who has already paid fees for the canceled program shall be reimbursed for said fees.
All students’ parking citation balances shall be zeroed in order to ease financial difficulties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
All UMass students with campus parking passes shall be reimbursed for the proportion of the semester cost remaining, as most students will not be eligible to use the passes on campus due to the transition to remote learning.

Housing:
Any student who must stay on campus due to personal circumstances shall be allowed to remain without having to present a reason or documentation, given the plethora of possible extenuating circumstances and the difficulty of producing documentation for certain circumstances.
University Administration shall advocate to landlords to have flexibility for student tenants during this pandemic (e.g. changing to payment plans for rent).
University Administration shall publicly support HD.4935, “An Act Providing for a Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures During the COVID19 Emergency,” as a means of protecting students from the cruelty of evictions during this pandemic.

Academic Affairs:
In accordance with Professional Staff Union’s (PSU) request, there should be no classes for the week following Spring Break, following the lead of many other universities and colleges, in order to allow more time for faculty and support staff to move course content online; this will also ensure that students are better able to take these courses in an alternate format.
All attendance requirements shall be called off for every class for the remainder of the semester; lectures shall be recorded so that students who may be unable to remotely attend do not miss class material.
The Registrar shall allow students to withdraw from courses without receiving a “W” on their transcript; additionally, the withdrawal date shall be extended to Friday, April 10th, to allow students an adequate decision period about whether or not a course works remotely.
For laboratory, studio, and capstone courses (including, but not limited to, Music, Dance, Theatre) the Registrar shall allow extensive flexibility regarding incompletes and withdrawals, pursuant to the fact that these courses do not translate easily to remote learning models.
All courses shall be made available to be taken as incompletes that may be completed any semester prior to graduating to ease the transition to remote learning.
Any course taken as an incomplete can be transitioned to the equivalent letter grade earned should the incomplete not be finished prior to graduating (i.e. how students can decide to make a course taken pass/fail count as a letter grade after the fact).
All courses this semester shall be made available to be taken as Pass/Fail to ease the transition to remote learning. This proposal has already been adopted by other Universities and has been advocated for by many UMass Amherst faculty members within and beyond its faculty senate.
Even if taken P/F, courses shall count as fulfilling the major requirement so long as no minimum course grade is required to enroll in sequential courses.
For students who chose to study abroad Spring 2020 in order to fulfill a major requirement, that requirement shall be considered fulfilled or they may choose to participate in another study abroad program in a later semester.
If there is no way to take a course that was being taken abroad online through UMass, the associated course and credits shall be considered complete and earned.
Students who are on track to graduate in May 2020 upon successful completion of their courses shall be guaranteed their diplomas. This shall occur even if their graduation requirements are disrupted by matters related to the transition to remote learning.

Labor:
Every student employee shall continue to be paid as normal for their position, regardless of whether they remain on campus or are able to complete their work.
Should the University fail to provide people their expected pay, we will see an increase in food and housing insecurity among student populations. As a measure of public health, then, the University must commit to compensating all student employees for the remainder of the semester.
All campus employees shall continue to be paid as normal, regardless of whether they continue their work or have been laid off for the semester.
Once more, as a matter of public health, the University has a financial responsibility to ensure its employees do not experience food and/or housing insecurity in the midst of a pandemic.
All employees who remain working on campus shall be assigned workloads that take into account their health, safety, and wellbeing during this pandemic. Employees shall have the right to refuse work if it threatens their health, safety, or wellbeing.
All campus employees who will be working remotely shall receive information on any position description adjustments and remote work expectations as soon as possible or be given a timeline on when to expect the aforementioned information.
Student businesses, which will not be functioning for the rest of the semester and therefore cannot make profit, must be subsidized by the university to ensure their long-term sustainability and individual employees’ incomes.

Further Support:
Students in need of financial assistance to afford their return to or travel back from campus in response to the pandemic and the University’s transition to remote learning shall be granted aid to cover the expenses, regardless of where they may be returning to or from.
Should the libraries not be regularly operational for the remainder of the semester, accommodations shall be made to allow student access to the libraries’ archives, materials, equipment, and services not available remotely. This is critical for thesis, dissertation, and research work that is often time-sensitive.
Accommodations shall be made to students in need of accessing the resources in the Assistive Technology Center at the W. E. B. DuBois Library to ensure all students are able to succeed given the campus response to the pandemic.
Students shall be updated weekly by email regarding the status of campus operations. Students shall be kept in the know to a significantly higher degree than they have been. Even if decisions have yet to be made, there shall be regular, comprehensive updates on everything linked to the University response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Center for Counseling and Psychological Health shall remain open and accessible at no cost for the remainder of the semester by phone for students given the impact this transition may have on students’ mental health.
University Health Services shall investigate the efficacy of offering Telehealth Medical Service options for those reliant on medical assistance from UHS who are unable to continue utilizing these services in-person.
At whatever point an in-person Commencement for the Class of 2020 can be safely held, in accordance with CDC guidelines, it must be, and any financial support to facilitate the Ceremony shall be provided to students and their families.

Appeals to the Faculty Senate:

The Faculty Senate should urge professors to exercise leniency in grading and assessment, pursuant to the extreme shift in learning modality to remote learning, and the unprecedented circumstances surrounding COVID-19, keeping in mind student mental health during this shift.
All attendance requirements should be called off for every class due to differences in time zones and off-campus obligations.
All courses able to be made available to be taken as incompletes should be offered as such to ease the transition to remote learning.

Address

180 Infirmary Way
Amherst, MA
01003

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(413) 545-2751

Alerts

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Our Story

The W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies was officially established in 1970, and has grown to become one of the largest Africana Studies departments in the country. We offer BA, MA, and PhD degrees for all students who wish in-depth knowledge of the history and culture of black people in the Americas and the worldwide African Diaspora. We are located on the campus of the University of Massachusetts in New Africa House. From its beginning our department has been named for the scholar-activist William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (/duːˈbɔɪs/ doo-BOYSS;[1][2] February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963), the sociologist, socialist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor. Born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts in the western part of the Bay State, Du Bois attended Fisk University, and went on to complete graduate work at the University of Berlin and Harvard, where he was the first African American to earn a doctorate. He became a professor of history, sociology and economics at Atlanta University and was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.

Du Bois is buried in Ghana, where he died on August 27, 1963, in the capital of Accra at the age of 95. The following day, at the March on Washington, speaker Roy Wilkins asked the hundreds of thousands of marchers to honor Du Bois with a moment of silence. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, embodying many of the reforms Du Bois had campaigned for his entire life, was enacted almost a year after his death.

Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah gave Du Bois a state funeral and his former home has been dedicated the W. E. B. Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan African Culture in his memory. The UMass library is named for Du Bois and holds his collected papers. The department counts among its former faculty his wife Shirley Graham Du Bois, who worked here before she died in 1977; as well as his stepson David Graham Du Bois. Over the years we have been part of the stewardship of his boyhood homesite just outside of his hometown of Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Nearby museums


Comments

April 27th Marks the 137th Anniversary of the Birth of Hubert Harrison the “Father of Harlem Radicalism,” Founder of the First Organization and First Newspaper of the Militant “New Negro Movement,” and “Radical Internationalist.” St Croix-born, Harlem-based Hubert H. Harrison (April 27, 1883-December 17, 1927) was a brilliant writer, orator, educator, critic, and radical political activist. Interest in his life and work continues to grow. For comments from scholars and activists on "Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918" (Columbia University Press) see http://www.jeffreybperry.net/disc.htm and see https://www.jeffreybperry.net/bio.htm For information on "A Hubert Harrison Reader" (Wesleyan University Press) see https://www.jeffreybperry.net/2___i_a_hubert_harrison_reader__i___b___font___font___center__86148.htm and to order the book see https://www.hfsbooks.com/books/a-hubert-harrison-reader-harrison-perry/ For information on the new, Diasporic Africa Press expanded edition of Hubert H. Harrison's “When Africa Awakes: The 'Inside Story’ of the Stirrings and Strivings of the New Negro in the Western World” and to purchase the book see https://dafricapress.com/When-Africa-Awakes-The-Inside-Story-of-the-Stirrings-and-Strivings-of-the-New-Negro-in-the-Western-World-p56608720? For a video of a Slide Presentation/Talk on Hubert Harrison see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heBKm1ytd5Q For articles, audios, and videos by and about Hubert Harrison see https://www.jeffreybperry.net/3__hubert_harrison_br___b___font___font___center__86150.htm For a link to the Hubert H. Harrison Papers Digital Collection online at Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library see https://dlc.library.columbia.edu/sites/hubert_h_harrison For a Finding Aid to the Hubert Harrison Papers at Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library seehttp://www.columbia.edu/cu/libraries/inside/projects/findingaids/scans/pdfs/Harrison_Hubert_H.pdf For information on the forthcoming “Hubert Harrison: The Struggle for Equality, 1918-1927” that will be available later this year see http://cup.columbia.edu/book/hubert-harrison/9780231182638
#WEBDDAFRO alumni news
UMASS Afro-Am alum Dr. Kabria Baumgartner named a 2020 Emerging Scholar by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education
Posted by my friend Taj Smith, a UMass Amherst alum. Please share!
#AfricanaStudiesToday is a new project that Demetria Shabazz & I are excited to launch in 2020. This inaugural episode was taped in the Underground Theater
I attended Professor Femi Richards’ remembrance event in Harlem, NY yesterday, August 4 . I happily represented #UMassAmherstAfroAm. I spoke about what he meant to students, both graduate and undergraduate. I also spoke about what he meant to me as a friend and mentor for the past twenty-three years. It was he who taught me how to be an academic. The occasion was a bittersweet. However, I think Professor Richards would be pleased to know so many people appreciated, admired and loved him in life. #FatherOfHundreds #WEBDDAFRO
I attended Professor Femi Richards’ remembrance event in Harlem, NY yesterday, August 4 . I happily represented #UMassAmherstAfroAm. I spoke about what he meant to students, both graduate and undergraduate. I also spoke about what he meant to me as a friend and mentor for the past twenty-three years. It was he who taught me how to be an academic. The occasion was a bittersweet. However, I think Professor Richards would be pleased to know so many people appreciated, admired and loved him in life. #FatherOfHundreds #WEBDDAFRO
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois. Harlem In Color Photographs by Carl Van Vechten. Courtesy of the Carl Van Vechten Trust/Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
The full program for #CLPP2019 is now online! Register now to attend workshops on topics including sex work, immigrant justice, white supremacy, queering RJ, clinics and abortion access, youth activism, funding, environmental justice, & so much more! https://www.facebook.com/events/335415310309473/
Dear friends and colleagues, join us tomorrow @ Smith College for this great opportunity with Dr. Samuel Kelton Roberts.
Dear AfroAm fam, please circulate this flyer. Come take my class this Spring at Smith College!
Please join us for the 47th Annual Amherst-A Better Chance Fall Foliage 5Kwalk/run on Saturday, October 20th. The course begins on the Amherst town common and will include beautiful vistas during peak foliage! You can also create your own fundraising page to support the ABC house and our Scholars! The ABC program has been in Amherst for nearly 50 years and has changed the lives of over 125 high schoolers. The community has played a critical role in making this program happen, so please sign up today. This will be a family event with lots of great post run entertainment. Click here to register https://www.amherstabetterchance.org/fallfoliagewalkrun/ or go to our FB page https://www.facebook.com/ABCfall.foliage.walk.run/