Letter from the Chair

December 20, 2018

Of all the challenges that confront America, none is more profound than the struggle to achieve racial equality and to understand the impact of race on the life and institutions of the United States.  As a University dedicated to “the nation’s service and the service of humanity,” Princeton has positioned itself to contribute to this quest through research that yields valuable insights into the study of race, and through education that trains new generations of leaders to solve problems that have persisted too long, both in this country and throughout the world. 

In 2017-2018, the Department achieved a milestone.  We graduated our first class of concentrators. Ten students walked through Fitz-Randolph Gates with degrees in African

Eddie Glaude, Jr.

Dr. Eddie Glaude, Jr., Department Chair & James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor

American Studies. These students are our Pioneers; joined by 18 graduating seniors who completed a certificate in our program. Among them was a Rhodes Scholar, the class president of 2018, winners of theses prizes, and leaders of their respective communities.

The faculty in African American Studies, with the support of the administration, have worked tirelessly to build what has become the most influential site for African American Studies in the world.  Needless to say; this has been a long road.  

My colleagues continue to publish extraordinary books.  Wallace Best’s Langston Salvation: American Religion and the Bard of Harlem won the American Academy of Religion’s award for excellence in the study of religion.  Tera Hunter’s Bound in Wedlock: Slave and Free Marriage in the 19th century has been widely acclaimed. It was a finalist for the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize and won two prizes from the American Historical Association: the John Kelly Memorial Prize for women’s history and/or feminist theory and the Littleton Griswold Prize in U.S. Law and Society.   Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor received the 2018 Lambda Literary Award for How Do We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective.  Moreover, Imani Perry has done the unimaginable by publishing three books in one year!

May We forever Stand: A History of the Black National AnthemVexyThing: On Gender and Liberation, and Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry. This book was long-listed for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction and the Pen America Literary Award, and listed among the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2018. The faculty are also thought leaders, helping the country navigate these turbulent times.  They are the most amazing teachers I have ever seen. We continue to sponsor events that push the boundaries of our understanding of race at the university, in this country, and across the globe.  Professor Keeanga-Yahmatta Taylor recently joined Ta-Nehisi Coates in a wide-ranging discussion about his work and the state of race matters in the country. We hosted our second biannual graduate student conference, “Contemporary Cultures of Black Impossibility.”  Additionally, we are expanding our reach through social media and our podcast.  

We will not rest with our recent success.  There is still much to do.  We have an exciting new cohort of majors and certificate students.  Our faculty continues to write, teach, and influence the national and global conversation about race in these troubling times. Incredible things are happening in Stanhope Hall.  The funny thing is:  we are just getting started!


Thank You,


Dr. Eddie Glaude, Jr. 
Professor & Chair
Department of African American Studies
Princeton University