African American Studies

“… though it is sometimes very difficult to imagine our nation totally free of racism and sexism, my intellect, my heart and my experience tell me that it is actually possible. For that day when neither exists we must all struggle.”

-James Baldwin

  • A conductor on the Underground Railroad, Lake Forest College founder Sylvester Lind was an important leader in the City of Lake Forest, where African Americans were welcomed into the community. Working with Art Miller, the College’s archivist, students in one of Professor Holly Swyers’ classes researched the vibrant African American community that once lived on Lind’s land on what is now South Campus.

Studying African American life locally is as important to Lake Forest College faculty and students as studying African American experiences nationally and internationally.

In addition to the traditional disciplines of literature, history, music, and politics, the African American Studies minor asks students to investigate African American experiences through the lenses of communications, economics, philosophy, and sociology/anthropology, to name a few. Students are encouraged to critically examine people, social movements, and cultural artifacts from the Harlem Renaissance to Hip Hop, from Phillis Wheatley to Barack Obama, from Their Eyes Were Watching God to The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

Department News

  • Image preview
    Dr. Evans will teach new Spike Lee class this fall!
  • Kiarra Hodge ‘13, a major in communications and and African-American Studies minor, and Greg McDowell ‘14 have signed with an independent recording label, Unlimited Production Music, and are currently working on a project together. Their collaboration was recently featured in the Lake County News-Sun.
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