WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Wake Forest University recently launched its first African American studies program.
The courses invite students to explore new concepts and learn more about the achievements of African Americans throughout history.
The school began offering courses at the beginning of the 2021-2022 academic year and named Corey Walker as the inaugural director.
Before joining Wake Forest University in 2020 as a professor of humanities, Walker taught at schools including Winston-Salem State University and Brown University, where he chaired the African American studies department.
“I find it to be intellectually stimulating, exhilarating, and the passion that I received from students and the opportunity to begin to learn with them is one of the things that really makes this a wonderful field to be in,” Walker said.
Now WFU students are able a major and minor in the field.
The school had been working on starting the program for the past few years. WFU credits a $1 million anonymous donation that helped to get the program off the ground.
“Bringing African American studies here to Wake Forest University really is to build on a community of inquiry, build on a rich culture that already exists here in Winston-Salem and in North Carolina and most importantly help a generation of students to begin their journey and understanding of the deep issues and questions in the discipline, and enable us to really live out the expression of our motto pro humanitas.”
Students in the class said that they appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the topics that interest them.
“I’ve taken other classes on Black feminist theory and things like that, so I was really interested in going deeper in those subjects,” said junior Ashley Davis, who now minors in the field at WFU.
Walker encourages anyone with an interest in African American studies to explore it more.
“It is a dynamic and growing field, it is an innovative field, and most importantly, it really animates how we can transform the world to be a much more humane place,” he said.