Black studies program holds back to school open house

By Claudia Ugbana

Cleveland State University faculty members re-introduced the black studies program to help new and current students familiarize themselves with the faculty and classes taught within the program on Tuesday, Sept. 3 in the Howard A. Mims African American Cultural Center.

Students who major in black studies must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours, and students who minor in the program must complete a minimum of 15 credit hours, according to Dr. Thomas Bynum, director of the black studies program. 

“The program was set up to give students the opportunity to choose a second major if they would like,” Bynum explained. “Many of our students have second majors. The second major helps to make students more competitive in the job market.”

Demetria Hart, student ambassador for the black studies program is a senior double-majoring in black studies and history. Hart said she has been in the black studies major since the spring of 2017. 

“I joined the black studies program because I wanted to have that knowledge of self and awareness of the world around me,” Hart said. “I’m always curious, and I have learned so much about every other culture and history. I just think I was interested in seeing what I could get from it.”

From the black studies program, Hart feels that she gained many transferable skills such as analytical thinking, writing and research. She also feels that this program has helped her work on her people skills, by helping her learn how to work with people with diverse cultures and backgrounds.

“That’s the thing about black studies,” Hart said. “You learn about all different cultures because they encompass humanity. Black history is world history, so I’m learning and relearning and unlearning and doing all these things that help me grow. This program has done a lot for me, so I like to give back.”

The black studies program was founded in the 1960s because of students protesting for a more inclusive curriculum on college campuses, according to Bynum.