Celebrating 50 years of African American Studies at Wesleyan stamp

Celebrating 50 Years of African American Studies at Wesleyan


Schedule of Events during Reunion & Commencement Weekend

Friday, May 24th

2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
#WesAfAm50, What’s your story?
Share a 5-10 minute memory about your time and experiences at Wesleyan. Interviews will be archived.
Room 210, Fisk Hall (Show in Map)

3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. 
WESEMINAR Black Middletown Lives: Student Research on Middletown’s African American History Commemorates 50 Years of AFAM at Wesleyan
Middletown’s three centuries of African American history tell a remarkable story. In the 1820s, as northern slavery ended and the political battle over southern slavery intensified, free African Americans formed a unique, property-owning community on what is now the western edge of Wesleyan’s campus. These men and women transformed Middletown, a slave trading river port during the 18th century, into a center of the antislavery movement. Beginning in the 1920s, Middletown became a destination for southern migrants fleeing Jim Crow. In the 1960s, members of Middletown’s African American and Wesleyan communities played active roles in the civil rights movement, North and South. And, 50 years ago this year, Black student protest laid the groundwork for African American Studies at Wesleyan. Join Professor Jesse Nasta and the students in his African American Studies/service learning course as they share their research on Middletown’s nationally-significant African American history. Through the efforts of the Vanguard Class fifty years ago in establishing the Center for African American Studies, the relationship of Middletown’s African American community to Wesleyan can be told. 
Presenter: Dr. Jesse Nasta '07 is a Visiting Assistant Professor of African American Studies. His Black Middletown Lives service learning course draws upon his 2007 Wesleyan honors thesis, “‘Their Own Guardians and Protectors’: African American Community in Middletown, Connecticut, 1822-1860.”
Student presentersElias Benda '19, Aviv Rau '19 and Eugene Smith '20
A walking tour of the Beman Triangle and Wesleyan's African American history- led by Eugene Smith '20 and Prof. Jesse Nasta '07 - will immediately follow the WESeminar, at 4:30 p.m.
Room 208, Fisk Hall (Show in Map)

4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
#WesAfAm50, What’s your story?
Share a 5-10 minute memory about your time and experiences at Wesleyan. Interviews will be archived.
Room 210, Fisk Hall (Show in Map)

Saturday, May 25th

10 a.m. - 11 a.m.
WESEMINAR The Vanguard Class of 1969 Reflections After 50 Years
How has the experience of being a part of the class of 1969 mattered for living in the early phases of the 21st century? In making a leap across history -- in this case, across personal histories -- this seminar explores how members of the class of 1969 reflect upon their experiences as Wesleyan students during that very tumultuous time, and how being a part of the institution has shaped their thinking and actions regarding social justice and social differences in the ensuing decades. 
The discussion will address the following issues: why the choice of Wesleyan at that time; pivotal moments of personal growth and development at Wesleyan during that time; what Wesleyan means as members of the class of 1969 engage their lives today, especially how they translate lessons learned and thoughts about race relations, social differences, and social justice during their time at Wesleyan to the present day. Following a panel conversation, an open discussion will take place that explores how the late 1960s matters, professionally and personally, in the modern era for people who attended Wesleyan and came of age during that period. 
Opening Remarks: President Michael S. Roth ’78
Moderator: Al Young ’88 is the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Sociology, Afroamerican and African Studies, and Public Policy (by courtesy) at the University of Michigan. He received an MA and PhD from the University of Chicago. He has published four books and over 30 articles on the life experiences of low-income African Americans, African American intellectuals, and diversity and multiculturalism in higher education. He created and directs the Scholars Network on Black Masculinity, a nationwide, cross-disciplinary assembly designed to influence social policy and reshape public understanding about the condition of African American males. At Wesleyan, Al majored in sociology-psychology and in African American studies (with honors). He was co-chair of Ujamaa, the Black students’ association, a member of the Wesleyan Student Assembly, a student representative to the board of trustees, and a member of the Presidential Search Committee of 1988. He was awarded the Butterfield Prize and the Robert Lynd Award (sociology), the Alumni Service Award in 2008, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2013. He is currently on the Board of Trustees and served as an alumni-elected trustee from 1998-2001. 
Presenters: Howard Brown ’69 had a gratifying career in teaching and administering educational programs. He designed his English classes on the Wesleyan model and sent students off to great success in their college experiences by doing so. He left the classroom to focus on the integration of technology into instruction on a system level, teaching technology to teachers and administrators at a time when technical people were saying that the personal computer would never survive, even though the chip in the IBM word processor was the same one that was in the IBM PC. In his last portfolio, he supervised the implementation of afterschool programs in more than 90 schools affecting several thousand students, both elementary and secondary, especially through the introduction of technology to support their learning of reading and mathematics. Barry Checkoway ’69 is the Arthur Dunham Collegiate Professor of Social Work and Professor of Urban Planning at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. He has taught at the University of CA at Berkeley, University of PA, and as a visiting scholar at the London School of Economics. He is an internationally recognized scholar and practitioner on youth empowerment, neighborhood development, and community change. His projects and publications draw on work with grassroots groups, community agencies, and government programs in the US, and in South America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, with support from the World Health Organization, Ford Foundation, Kellogg Foundation and other institutions. He worked with the White House in 1990 to launch AmeriCorps, then served as founding director of the Michigan Neighborhood AmeriCorps Program, Edward Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning, Michigan Youth and Community Program, and Youth Dialogues on Race and Ethnicity. Bernard Freamon ’69, P’94 had a very successful career as a law professor at Seton Hall Law and as a litigator for the ACLU and other organizations and clients. In recent years he has concentrated on research and writing on the topic of slavery and Islamic law. He has a book coming out on June 27, 2019 entitled Possessed by the Right Hand: The Problem of Slavery in Islamic Law and Muslim Cultures, to be published by Brill. Steve Pfeiffer ’69, Hon.’99, P’99, ’05, ’08, ’13 still has an international practice in his law firm, now Norton Rose Fulbright, and serves on a number of Boards. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London. Steve was Secretary to the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee for Maryland/DC from 1993 to 2001 and served on the Selection Committee for the state of Montana from 2002 to 2004. He serves as a director of Barloworld Limited (a publicly owned company based in South Africa) and Iridium Communications Inc. (a publicly owned company based in the Washington, D.C. area). He is also a trustee of The Africa-America Institute in New York and a director of Project HOPE in Washington, D.C. and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., all non-profit organizations. Steve served as a member of the Wesleyan Board of Trustees from 1976 to 1992 serving as Chairman from 1987 to 1992. He is currently Chairman Emeritus. Edwin Sanders ’69 is the Senior Servant and Founder of Metropolitan Interdenominational Church (established 1981) in Nashville, TN. This congregation attracts a broad cross-section of people with the mission of being “inclusive of all and alienating to none”. He served as Pastoral Counselor for the Meharry Medical College Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program, Director of the Southern Prison Ministry, and Dean of the Chapel at Fisk University. He is an Emeritus member of the Board of Directors of the Black AIDS Institute, a member of the Interdenominational Ministers’ Fellowship and the Ryan White Community AIDS Partnership, and a life member of the NAACP. Edward serves on the Boards of Directors of The National Minority AIDS Council, The Drug Policy Alliance, and Project Return addressing recidivism and mass incarceration.  He is the National Coordinator of Religious Leaders for a More Just and Compassionate Drug Policy. Currently, he serves on the Howard University School of Divinity Board of Visitors; as Chair of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network Legacy Project Advisory Group designed to increase the participation of African Americans, Latinos and Asian Pacific Islanders in HIV vaccine studies; and on the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Scientific Advisory Board.  
Fries Global Commons, Fries Center for Global Studies, Fisk Hall (Show in Map)

10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Fisk Takeover
A short film (10 minutes) produced in 2014 as docu-drama re-enactment of the Fisk Takeover of 1969. Produced, by Noah Korman ‘15, Armani White ‘15, and Shane Bernard ‘14.
Fisk Hall (Show in Map)

2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Alumni of Color (AOC)/ Students of Color (SOC) Reception and African American Studies Open House
Please join us as we honor Alumni and Students of Color, celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Center for African American Studies, and acknowledge Associate Dean of Admission Cliff Thornton, who is retiring after more than 30 years of dedication and service to the Wesleyan community. Remarks will begin at 3:00 PM and tours of the Malcolm X house will be available to guests before and after the scheduled program.
#WesAfAm50 #WesAOC
This event is sponsored by the Center for African American Studies and the Alumni of Color Council (AOCC).
Tent, Davison Health Center which is adjacent to the Center for African American Studies

11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
#WesAfAm50, What’s your story?
Share a 5-10 minute memory about your time and experiences at Wesleyan. Interviews will be archived.
Olin Memorial Library

2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Celebrating 50 Years of African American Studies at Wesleyan: Story Corp
Record a memory or thought about your time at Wesleyan. 
2nd Floor Seminar Room, Center for African American Studies

2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Celebrating 50 Years of African American Studies at Wesleyan: Tours of Malcolm X House
Tours of Malcolm X House. 
Malcolm X House 

2 p.m. - 5 p.m.
 #WesAfAm50, What’s your story?
Share a 5-10 minute memory about your time and experiences at Wesleyan. Interviews will be archived.
Office 232 (2nd Floor Seminar Room), Center for African American Studies

Please visit displays throughout campus honoring the history of Black student life at Wesleyan.

History of African American Studies, Black Life on campus and in Middletown
1st Floor, Olin Memorial Library

"Wesleyan's First African American Graduate: The Life of Thomas F. Barnswell, class of 1862." Curated by Aviv Rau '19, as a final project for Prof. Jesse Nasta's Black Middletown Lives course

"The Fisk Hall Takeover and Black Student Activism in Middletown, 1965-1969." Curated by Arianne Philemy, '21, as a final project for Prof. Jesse Nasta's Black Middletown Lives course

"Unburying Black Middletown History: Archaeological Findings From the Beman Triangle." Curated by Elias Benda '19, as a final project for Prof. Jesse Nasta's Black Middletown Lives course

The History of Jazz and Ebony Singers at Wesleyan
Olin Music Library

Commemorating the Fisk Takeover
Fisk Hall

The History of the Ankh, Wesleyan’s Student of Color Publication & Black Life at Wesleyan through the years
1st Floor, Usdan University Center

Books in Black Studies by Wesleyan Faculty and Alumni authors
Daniel Family Commons, Usdan University Center

Special Section for books in Black Studies by Wesleyan Faculty and Alumni authors
The Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore