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Wayne State University Celebrates 45 Years with African American Studies

Errol Henderson

The history of Black Studies is intricately tied to the African American struggle for equality in general, and to representation in academia in particular”… that’s according to the chair of The Wayne State University Department of African American Studies, Melba Boyd. The Wayne State program celebrates its 45th anniversary this year. The school will host an event this evening to mark the occasion, with keynote speaker Errol Anthony Henderson. Henderson is an associate professor of political science at Penn State, and he grew up in the Brewster Projects on Detroit’s east side.

The event, which is free and open to the public, takes place from 3 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25, in Wayne Law’s Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium.

Henderson joined Detroit Today for a conversation about race, academia, and growing up in Detroit. Here are a couple highlights from the conversation:

Race in America: Errol Henderson says he knows many white people are uncomfortable talking about the founding and formation of the U.S. on slavery and racism. ”They forget that they should be uncomfortable” with this country’s legacy of so-called white supremacy, he says.  
Activism and Academia: ”At any school if you don’t see activism, that should worry you,” says Errol Henderson. Henderson says at Penn State University there is a history of activism, but the university, as many institutions, has a long way to go.