Building on the Legacy

Black students, faculty, staff and administrators have made and continue to make considerable contributions to William & Mary and have been instrumental in helping the university build on the legacy of the three women being honored this year as well as earlier Black students who were admitted but not residential.

Although acknowledging that work still needs to be done, the university has made a commitment to diversity and inclusion, indeed, to creating a sense of belonging and opportunity for all. Our theme for the year, Sankofa, demonstrates the ways in which the university reflects on the past in order to progress toward a better future.

Black Studies / Africana Studies

Jacquelyn Y. McLendonBeginning under the auspices of the Roy R. Charles Center, the Black Studies Program was launched in Fall 1997, with Professor Jacquelyn McLendon as director. Representing a wide range of disciplines across campus, the faculty advisory committee met during several May seminars and frequently throughout several semesters:  Professors Joanne Braxton, Melvin Ely, Grey Gundaker, Satoshi Ito, Arthur Knight, Richard Lowry, McLendon, Kimberley Phillips, Hermine Pinson (interim director 93-94) and Ken Price. After much deliberation, this committee agreed that the name Black Studies best suited the aims of the program as global and interdisciplinary. When Black Studies merged with African Studies, the name of the program changed to Africana Studies. Launched in Fall 2009, Professor Berhanu Abegaz was founding director until 2012, with Hermine Pinson as interim director for one semester. Professor Francis Tanglao-Aguas directed the program from 2012-2016. Professor Artisia Green is current director.

More about the people that shaped Black / Africana Studies

Center for Student Diversity

Dr. Carroll F. S. HardyThe Office of Minority Affairs was established in 1974, with Leroy Moore as director and its mission was to serve Black students. In 1980, Dr. Carroll F. S. Hardy became its director and served until 1995; under her leadership the name changed to the Office of Multicultural Affairs (1991) reflecting efforts to address the needs of the university's increasing diversity. Following Dr. Hardy, Ed Cowell directed until 1999, at which time Dr. Fanchon Glover became director and served for 10 years. Dr. Glover has since become the university's first Chief Diversity Officer. In 2009, under the directorship of Dr. Vernon Hurte, the office became the Center for Student Diversity, broadening its scope to address the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, as well as students of various religions and faiths. Dr. Hurte left the position in 2017, and the newly hired director is Dr. Kimberly Weatherly.

W&M Scholars Undergraduate Research Experience (WMSURE)

Cheryl DickterCo-Directors: Cheryl Dickter (Associate Professor of Psychological Sciences) and Natoya Haskins (Assistant Professor of Education); Former co-director: Anne Charity Hudley

Natoya HaskinsThe W&M Scholars Undergraduate Research Experience (WMSURE) is a program designed to provide and enhance research opportunities for W&M Scholars. WMSURE students participate in workshops that provide them with information and resources for conducting research and preparing for graduate school.

WMSURE students also attend additional workshops that provide practical advice for life at W&M (e.g., time management, choosing a major) as well as cultural and social events.

Hulon Willis Association (HWA)

Hulon WillisThe Hulon Willis Association (HWA) celebrated its 25th anniversary from June 23 - 25, 2017, in Washington, D.C. The weekend featured esteemed speakers and alumni, and social, intellectual, and cultural events spanning from Friday to Sunday. Founded in 1992, by and for African-American alumni, the Hulon Willis Association is named after the first African-American to be admitted to William & Mary. HWA is dedicated to encouraging fellowship among alumni, promoting the interests of the Alumni Association and the university and enhancing the quality of life for current African-American students through scholarship and other opportunities.

Ebony Expressions Gospel Choir

Ebony ExpressionsEbony Expressions Gospel Choir started as a group of seven undergraduate students under the direction of Timothy Allmond '78. Timothy was a senior music major and he organized the group as a project for a music class. At that time the choir was called The Black Student Organization Choir, but the name was changed in 1977.

The choir aims to be a service to the campus and community by seeking to be a source of spiritual revival to both the students and the local community fellowships through song.

The Lemon Project

Jody AllenEstablished in 2009, The Lemon Project: A Journey of Reconciliation, Jody Allen, Director, is named for Lemon, a man who was once enslaved by William & Mary.

Although he was, legally, the property of the university, his relationship with William & Mary was complex and often ambiguous. However, in many ways, Lemon stands in the place of the known and unknown African Americans who helped to build, maintain and move the university forward.

Mural Project

Mural ProjectAfricana Studies, cross-listed with Art, offered an arts-oriented workshop this summer focusing on the creation of a mixed media mural under the instructorship of visiting professor and artist Steve Prince. The mural was created as part of the 50th Anniversary of African American students in residence at William & Mary. It will be part of the president's art collection and have a permanent home in Swem Library.

More images from the mural creation workshop