New LSU department opens door to elevate students’ education on realities of Black experience

BATHON-ROSE, Louise (WAFB) – On Sunday, February 20, a crowd will gather on the LSU campus to celebrate the launch of the school’s new faculty of African and African American studies, which is said to be long overdue.

LSU Professor Dr. Stephen Finley is the inaugural chair of the department. For Finley, the history of African Americans in the United States is not just a subject he teaches students, it is his hobby. Its students can learn about the realities of the African American experience and earn a degree from the Department of African and African American Studies.

“Departments are actually getting more respect and should get more resources. So, in addition to much more autonomy, it’s just better to be in the department, ”Finley said.

The AAAS LSU program was erected in a separate department last year, which was recommended by consultants 20 years ago after self-study.

“I really can’t answer the question … that for so long. This is a matter for the institution, ”Finley said.

Dr. Finley is confident that AAAS students will learn when it comes to the struggles and contributions of black Americans.

“We are peeling off all the layers. Again, this is an educational institution. These are courses that are designed to talk, so we don’t try to disinfect. We try to teach students about the world we live in, and about how we got here, and about the nature of our current social homes. We can’t do that without talking about race, gender and economic inequality, ”Finley said.

Nikki Lee is set to become the first female student to receive a diploma from the LSU Department of African and African American Studies.(WAFB)

When Nicki Lee first entered LSU nearly 30 years ago, there was no opportunity to earn a degree in African American Studies. Now she will be the first to receive.

“I admire the program more than what I order. Although, it’s exciting, ”Lee said.

Lee will be the first graduate of the department if she is awarded a diploma this summer. She is humiliated by the opportunity to preserve centuries-old African-American traditions through knowledge.

“The moment a ritual ceases to become a ritual, it is lost. I think this is the most important thing in the program. The program ultimately preserves black culture, ”Lee said.

Nikki Lee should become the first student to receive an African degree and ...
Nikki Lee is set to become the first female student to receive a diploma from the LSU Department of African and African American Studies.(WAFB)

But this can only happen with the proper funding and support of the department from the public and university leaders. Dr. Finley’s goal is to raise $ 5 million to ensure the success of the department. He appeals to those in power.

“I ask them to continue doing this work. This is not my department. I work here. I’m committed to it, but it’s an institution of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the University of Louisiana, and that’s why we all need to build, ”Finley said.

If you are interested in learning more about the new Department of African and African American Studies, click here. Or, if you want to make a donation to the department through the LSU Foundation, click here.

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