Cover of a brochure cover that says "Afro-American Studies Program at CWRU" with the side profile of a woman
Case Western Reserve University Archives, Image 03106

In CWRU History: Afro-American Studies Program

The Daily has partnered with University Archives to shed light on Case Western Reserve University’s history each month. Follow The Daily to get your fill, and check out Digital Case to find even more information.

In response to calls from students to enhance the university’s offerings in courses related to African American culture and history, the newly federated Case Western Reserve University launched an Afro-American Studies Program in the late 1960s.

The program’s launch was among demands the Afro-American Society sent to then-president Robert W. Morse, who agreed with the student organization and started a task force to drive the initiative forward. John McCluskey headed the program, with the first courses beginning in fall 1969.

The program experienced rapid growth. At its start in the 1969-70 academic year, there were 77 students enrolled in four courses. The following year (1970-71), there were 280 students in 18 courses. By 1972, the program had evolved into a minor and a research journal, Ju Ju, was established.

Unfortunately, the program was cut in the 1970s, alongside several others, as a result of declining enrollment nationwide and financial challenges. 

However, a new minor in African and African American Studies was created in 2018 for today’s students. Learn more about the minor.