Program History

The first course in African-American studies, ENG 371: “Modern Black American Literature,” was taught by Professor Andrew Angyal in the Department of English in the spring of 1979.

With additional faculty hired in 1987 and 1992 to offer more courses in African and African-American Studies, Elon recognized African & African-American Studies as an interdisciplinary program in 1994 under the leadership of Prof. K. Wilhelmina Boyd.

Although the program graduates minors, Sowande` Mustakeem was the first Elon University student to craft an independent major in African & African-American Studies in 2000. After graduating from Elon, she received an M.A. in African-American and African Studies at Ohio State University.

Mustakeem completed her Ph.D. in history at Michigan State. Her dissertation, “Ripples of Infinity: Gender, Health, and Violence in the Middle Passage 1721-1808”, conducts a social history of the slave ship experience during the legal slave trading period. She is currently an assistant professor of History at Washington University St. Louis.

Recognizing the study of the lives of Blacks at home and abroad as enriching and worthwhile pursuits, the African & African American Studies interdisciplinary program at Elon University will continue to forge a legacy that provides diverse opportunities and engaging experiences that provide a greater sense of community for our students and faculty.

African American Studies at Elon University

Wilhelmina Boyd commemorative video