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African American Studies Program

Valinda Littlefield

Message from the Director: Valinda Littlefield

As its seventh director, I am proud to be heralding our faculty and staff as we reflect on our history and celebrate our future.

In my role as director, I am inspired by the words of the late Congresswoman Barbara C. Jordan, made before the House Judiciary Committee, July 25, 1974:

'We, the people.'  It is a very eloquent beginning.  But when the document [the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution] was completed on the seventeenth of September in 1787 I was not included in that, 'We, the people.'  . . . . . But through the process of amendment, interpretation and court decision I have finally been included in 'We the people.'


Such was the fate for African American history and culture, for decades kept out of the halls of academia. It took a five-year grassroots campaign started in 1967 by USC student leaders under the umbrella of the Association of Afro-American Students, to move the university toward a more inclusive curriculum.

Since its inception in 1971, AFAM Studies has nurtured students through, around and over the walls of academia. Our faculty and staff are actively engaged in community outreach and make tremendous contributions to the university and community at large.

AFAM Studies has as its core mission, to help everyone see past the misrepresentations and distortions of African American experiences, to the more essential and enduring issues faced by citizens in local, national and global spaces. This mission is central to knowledge needed in order to understand and address many problems confronting the U.S. and the world.

I am very proud to be a part of this vibrant, intellectual and devoted AFAM Studies family, and am looking forward to making positive changes which will benefit future generations.