Contemporary Black Studies programs owe a large, and largely forgotten, debt to radical social and political movements that resulted in student protest demonstrations across the country at both majority white institutions such as Columbia University, and historically black institutions such as Howard University.1 During the decade of the 1960s black students demanded education that was relevant to their specific history of racial oppression.2 These demands were a central component of larger, and at times radically utopian, political, and philosophical imperatives that undergirded the Black Power Movement.3 The proponents of the Black Studies movement of the 1960s and 1970s argued that educational institutions in American society (with an emphasis on, but not exclusive to, the university) had to be radically transformed for humanity’s sake. Historically, Black Studies advocates supported the utilization of scholarship for the larger pursuit of social justice and a broader, more inclusive democracy.4 However, the “modern Black Studies Movement” represented perhaps the greatest political and pedagogical opportunity to fundamentally alter power relations in American society. Building on the early-twentiethcentury “Negro History Movement” pioneered by historians Carter
G. Woodson and J. A. Rogers, the modern Black Studies movement emerged from the hotbed of black radicalism produced during the 1960s. Black Studies provided a practical and political education for a variety of captive, and captivated, audiences during this era. The movement simultaneously promoted community building, black nationalist consciousness, class struggle, education opportunity and restructuring, employment creation, and anticolonial struggles through think tanks and study groups. Although not completely successful, these efforts should by no means be considered a failure. On the contrary, Black Studies programs remain one of the enduring and outstanding legacies of the Black Power Movement.