During the 2019-2020 academic year, Black Studies will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies. Through a wide array of programming and collection of student stories, we’ll highlight a legacy that has built a collective that includes an academic department, a policy institute, two art galleries, and a cultural programming division.
In 1969, UT Austin joined a small number of public institutions and established a Center of Afro American Studies. Students and faculty fought hard, and won.
In 1973, an associate professor of educational psychology, joined the Department of Educational Psychology and was appointed as the Director of two units: Director of the UT Afro-American Studies and the African and Afro-American Research Center.
That professor was Dr. John L. Warfield, or as his students, colleagues, and fellow community members called him, “Doc”. During his tenure as Director, “Doc” worked to combine two units he led to create what we have today and refer to as the Warfield Center. “Doc” was more than a director and an educator, he was what he described a “Scholar Activist”, someone who in his words shared with a group of faculty, “thrived off the need for social change”.
What began 50 years ago as a resistance to higher education’s history of erasure of the Black Diaspora’s history and intellectual contributions to the academy, has grown to a collective like no other in the country that includes four robust units: the African and African Diaspora Studies Department, the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies, the Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis, and the Art Galleries at Black Studies.
These images are provided courtesy of the Black Diaspora Archive at the University of Texas at Austin, which includes Dr. Warfield’s papers. To learn more about the Black Diaspora Archive’s commitment to documenting the Black experience in the Americas and the global South, click here.