The State of Afro-American Studies


To the Editors of The Crimson:

In reference to the article that was recently printed by the Crimson concerning the Afro-American Studies Department (2/12/79), I would like to clarify exactly what I was represented as saying.

In that article I was quoted as saying that the administration saw the department as a thorn in its side. This statement was made as a pretext to my observation that at the crux of the department's problems lies the administration's failure to fulfill certain commitments (tenured professorships, departmental chairs) that were made when the department began some ten years ago.

In this article I am also quoted as alluding to a lack of leadership in the department. This statement was also taken out of context. What I in fact said was that the leadership of the department has not taken it upon itself to press the University for the fulfillment of these previously mentioned commitments.

The unique situation of the Afro-American Studies Department warrants the special attention of the entire Harvard community. I have before witnessed similar situations where benign neglect has proven fatal to the entity in question.


I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of all the Afro concentrators to invite the Harvard community to an informal meeting to discuss the department's present situation. This meeting will be held in the Frederick Douglass Room of the Afro-American Studies Department, 77 Dunster Street on Wednesday, February 21 at 7:30 p.m. Lewis E. Byrd