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Historical Timelines of AFAM Studies by AFAM 201 Students: The Trail

This timeline was created by Puget Sound students Mara Henderson and Rajan Grad-Kaimal for an AFAM 201 class project, Fall 2017. Scroll down the page to read student reflections.

Mara Henderson's Reflection

Rajan and I were tasked with researching the formation of the African American Studies Program at the University of Puget Sound, as represented in the student newspaper “The Trail”. The issues of the Trail in the archives date back to the 1890s when the newspaper first began. Examining texts in the archives was not a new experience for me, however it was a unique experience because it was the longest I have interacted with the archives in class. The ongoing investigation into the past made me recognize the direct effects past actions have had on the University for it to be how it is today. I read about the founding of the Black Student Union (BSU)  on campus. I learned the University of Puget Sound was the first school in the State of Washington to have a BSU. Today I am a member of the BSU executive team. Thanks to the people I read about, I am able to be a part of this club that has shaped the college experience for so many Black students.

The process was longer than expected and the material would have been difficult to manage but the online archive of the trail was so helpful. With the online archive we could search keywords such as “Black Studies” or “Black Student Union” to narrow the scope of issues by only showing ones with relevant articles. When viewing our timeline, one would probably not expect us to have worked on it for over 6 weeks. The process of collecting information was time consuming because we didn’t have a good idea of what our goal was. Ideally our timeline would have covered a longer time span. Our finished product is a timeline starting in 1967 and ending in 1969. I would have liked to incorporate events relevant to the development of the African American Studies program that date all the way up to 2017.

We found the events in the late 1960s to be essential to the inception of the African American studies program. The audience of our timeline will understand opinions about the start of an Urban Studies program and a Black Studies program. The articles we chose represented student, faculty and community members opinions; who supported the startup of African American Studies. Also, the images found in the timeline are digital screenshots directly from the Trail, showing the audience who those people were and how the archival work looked. Going to the archives has inspired me to get more involved with “The Trail” newspaper. The thought of a UPS student looking at “The Trail” archives 50 years from now and seeing something I wrote, or an article that features my work is appealing.