‘Our pioneers’: First Cohort of Seniors Graduates from Princeton’s Department of African American Studies

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By Jamie Saxon, Office of Communications
Oct. 1, 2018


One is off to law school. Another has joined the staff of Princeton’s Office of Religious Life. Another will be teaching art to secondary school students in New York City. These students and seven of their peers started at Princeton thinking they were going to major in one thing — math or molecular biology, for example — and all changed to African American studies.

They comprise the Department of African American Studies’ (AAS) first cohort of concentrators who graduated in June. The Center for African American Studies was formed in 2006. In fall 2015, the University gave the center academic department status, ushering in a new era in which students could major in African American studies; previously, students could only earn a certificate.

“I remain in awe of Princeton’s first class of concentrators in African American studies,” said Eddie Glaude Jr., the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and department chair. “Each student brought something unique to our department. They worked closely with our stellar faculty, who pushed them to think critically and to imagine themselves in the most expansive of terms. All of them were courageous enough to pursue their passion irrespective of assumptions about traditional majors.

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