Richard Ross collection, 1969-2021 (majority within 1969-1974)
Using These Materials
- This collection is open for research.
- Ross, Richard Harrison, 1936-
- The Richard Ross collections brings together correspondence, research, reports, and proposals for the Junior Year in Africa/Africa Exchange Program and Master's programs in Black History, originated by Dr. Richard H. Ross, Sr. during his time as a student at the University of Michigan, and as Director of Research for the Center of Afroamerican and African Studies (CAAS), recognized as the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS) in 2011. These materials document some of the early history of CAAS, including efforts to keep the center running when faced with termination in 1973.
- 0.4 linear feet
- Call Number:
- 2023006 Aa 2
- Finding aid created by Gideon Goodrich, August 2023.
- Scope and Content:
The Richard Ross collection is a chronological set of papers documenting projects Dr. Richard H. Ross, Sr. worked on during his time at the University of Michigan, both as a student and as the Director for Research at the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies, now known as the Department for Afroamerican and African Studies. The bulk of the collection materials document Ross' efforts toward a Junior Year in Africa/Africa Exchange Program (JYA/AEP) including research; a report on paternalism and racism in the University of Michigan Financial Aid Office toward Black students; financial proposals; and correspondence. The JYA/AEP materials also include the mission statement, founding documents, and photographs of projects run by the African American and African Foundation on Science, Education, and Economics Development, Inc. (AAAFSEED). The rest of the materials document Master of Arts proposals, the Request for a Three-Year Evaluation for CAAS in 1973, and Ross' correspondence with CAAS and LSA regarding the donation of this collection.
- Biographical / Historical:
Dr. Richard H. Ross, Sr. is the founder of the African American and African Foundation on Science, Education, and Economics Development, Inc. (AAAFSEED) and current chairman of the board. He received his BA, MA, and PhD from the University of Michigan in 1967, 1968, and 1974, respectively. During his time at the university, he was involved in the early history of the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies (CAAS), now the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS).
In 1966, Ross proposed the first accredited Black history course at the University of Michigan. W.B. Wilcox, chair of the history department, refused the proposal, initially stating that no one in the department was prepared to teach a Black history course, and there were no "qualified" black scholars the university could hire. When Ross returned with a list of scholars able to teach the course across the country, Wilcox stated the emphasis on "separateness" would undermine race relations. Ross, as the Chairman of the committee for a course on "The History of the Negro American", began a petition to establish student and faculty support for the course in the History Department. He delivered the petition to Wilcox in March 1968; Wilcox again refused to implement the course, stating that while he was "sympathetic" to the demands of students, they would need to be patient. (A more complete breakdown of Wilcox and Ross' interactions is documented in Matthew Johnson's Undermining Racial Justice: How One University Embraced Inclusion and Inequality.) It wasn't until the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in April 1968, that Dean of LSA, William Haber, committed to implementing the course, a "vigorous and affirmative search for a Negro scholar", and a lecture series on Black Culture.
Post-graduation, Ross interned at the University of Michigan Admissions Office. As part of the internship program, he developed a program thesis for the Junior Year in Africa/African Exchange Program (JYA/AEP). At the same time, Ross did extensive work with Black students in the financial aid office. These students reported insufficient funding and incorrect or insufficient information provided to them by the financial aid office at large. This resulted in an audit that provided funds for the students Ross counseled, completed shortly before Ross pursue his JYA/AEP thesis as a PhD candidate at the Rackham Graduate School.
Ross' research focused on connecting African American and African students, as well as raising funds for Black students long term. A full program proposal for JYA/AEP was included in Ross' dissertation in 1974. Ross formed an Ad Hoc committee to pursue funding and partnerships for the JYA/AEP program as proposed; an extensive report on the proposed partnerships with universities in West Africa, written by Niara Sudarkasa, includes insights on the hurdles to a lasting exchange program. During this time, Ross also served as Director of Research for CAAS and created a proposed Master of Arts program in Black History in conjunction with Director of CAAS, Professor Harold Cruse. He also presented a proposal for a three-year evaluation of CAAS in 1973, to defend the center from Vice President Allen F. Smith's proposal to terminate CAAS.
Outside his work for the university, Ross founded AAAFSEED in 1993 with Ayinde Adalamo. The organization aims to increase economic and educational relationships between African Americans and Africans. The organization has completed several philanthropic projects in Nigeria and Senegal, particularly the donation of desks to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Girls Junior High School in Dakar, Senegal. Ross also successfully campaigned for Ann Arbor to include Dakar, Senegal among its six sister cities in 1997.
- Acquisition Information:
- The collection was donated to the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts by Dr. Richard H. Ross, Sr., in April 2021. It was donated to the Bentley Historical Library by the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (donor no. 10110 ) in February 2022.
- Processing information:
This collection was processed by processing archivist, Gideon Goodrich, in August 2023. They preserved the original arrangement of Ross' papers as best as possible, while maintaining the distinct project represented in the collection. A detailed, item-level list of correspondents, authors, and citations for the JYA/AEP project at the beginning of that folder. Both Master's program proposals were kept in their original comb bindings.
The collection is arranged chronologically by project.
No further additions to the records are expected.
- Rules or Conventions:
- Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
- Additional Descriptive Data:
The Bentley Historical Library houses the following related collections: Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (University of Michigan) records.
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
African Americans -- Education -- Michigan.
African Americans -- Study and teaching (Higher)
African Americans -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
University of Michigan. Center for Afroamerican and African Studies.
University of Michigan. Department of Afroamerican and African Studies.
University of Michigan. Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
Ross, Richard Harrison, 1936-
- Africa -- Study and teaching.
Using These Materials
This collection is open for research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Donor(s) have not transferred any applicable copyright to the Regents of the University of Michigan. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.
- PREFERRED CITATION:
[item], folder, box, Richard Ross collection, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.