This record group pertains to the University of Michigan Department of Afroamerican and African Studies and to campus, regional, and national organizations devoted to political and civil rights causes from the 1960s to the 1990s. The collection includes print documents, photographs, and audio-visual material that document racial harassment incidents, political protests, scholarly conferences and symposia, MLK Day celebrations and black student life on the U-M campus. There are also materials about the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the anti-apartheid and divestment movements of the 1980s. Originally a Center, the unit was formally recognized as a department of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts in 2011.
The records of the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS; formerly known as the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies, or CAAS) include correspondence, syllabi, clippings, publicity materials, photographs and audio and video recordings of campus speakers. The record group includes archival material that was originally collected and made available in DAAS's library relating to black activism and to organizations of interest to black students, faculty and staff, as well as DAAS's own organizational archives. Because these materials have been consulted and cited by researchers prior to their transfer to the Bentley in 2011, their original arrangement has been preserved so far as possible.
Paper and photographic records consist of three major series: Black student activism, 1969-2001 (5.5 linear feet), Blacks at U-M, 1969-2007 (4.5 linear feet) and Organizational archives of CAAS, 1962-2010 (17 linear feet) (formerly designated simply "Archives.") There is some overlap of subject matter. These categories reflect the organization of the materials imposed by CAAS librarians and archivists prior to transfer to the Bentley in 2011.
The following list identifies the greatest concentration of material relevant to some of the notable subjects in the collection:
- The Black Action Movements (Boxes 1-2 and 55)
- Incidents of on-campus harassment and responses (Boxes 1, 2, 4)
- South Africa, apartheid, and divestment -- (Boxes 2, 3, 5)
- Free South Africa Coordinating Committee (Box 3)
- Washtenaw County Coalition Against Apartheid (Box 5)
- United Coalition Against Racism and the Baker-Mandela Center (Boxes 1, 4, 5)
- The Michigamua controversy (Box 3)
- The Nelson Mandela Honorary Degree Petition (Boxes 3, 11)
- Gulf War activism (Boxes 3, 4)
This record group also includes a large number of audio and video recordings of presentations, interviews, documentaries, and cultural performances from the 1970s to the 1990s. The recordings include several notable faculty members, visiting scholars, and activists, including Harold Cruse, Cornell West, Rita Dove, Jesse Jackson, Angela Davis, Marian Wright Edelman and Rosa Parks.
The audio-visual material in the collection is organized is organized in to six series by format: Audio recordings on cassettes, 1975-2001 (486 cassettes, 9 linear feet), U-Matic videotapes, 1971-1989 (91 videotapes, 9.1 linear ft.) VHS videotapes, 1971-2004 (131 videotapes, 7 linear feet), Open reel videotapes, 1971-1980 (12 videotapes, 1 linear feet), Reel-to-reel audiotape, 1971, 1980 and undated (4 audiotapes, 0.3 linear feet) and Mini DVDs, 1999-2000 and undated (24 Mini-DVDs, 0.2 linear feet).