What You Can Do with an African American Studies Degree

African American Studies is a field that systematically explores the life and culture of African American peoples and their African Diaspora relationships, patterns, and ties.  Those who major in African American Studies will learn about the historical, political, ideological, legal, social, artistic, and economic issues affecting African Americans.  They will learn about the dignity-affirming struggles of African American people to have their humanity acknowledged, valued, and understood.  The achievements of African Americans have been tremendous and widespread. 

When students or parents ask, “What can I do with an African American Studies degree?, I challenge to rethink the question.  What can’t you do with this degree?  It is a passport to being a global citizen.  College graduates with an African American Studies degree have become doctors, lawyers, entertainers, politicians, professors,  astronauts, journalists, engineers, artists, poets, business executives, media entrepreneurs, and the list goes on and on.  Consider these persons who have made a tremendous difference in their careers:

  • Mae Jemison, astronaut and first woman of color to travel into space
  • Sanaa Lathan, actress
  • Thelma Golden, museum director
  • Angela Bassett, actress
  • Aaron McGruder, political cartoonist
  • Gloria Naylor, novelist
  • Lisa “Sista Souljah” Williamson, rapper and activist
  • Judge Richard Roberts, lawyer and judge
  • Carl Andrews, New York senator
  • Vince Carter, professional basketball superstar
  • Anita Wells, clinical psychologist
  • Marc Morial, director of the Urban League; former New Orleans mayor and senator
  • Rochelle Brown, producer of “Emeril Live”
  • Nicole Childers, executive producer of National Public Radio (NPR)
  • Ethelbert Miller, poet, author, and professor
  • Jill Nelson, novelist and freelance journalist
  • Antoinette Jackson, Habitat for Humanity board chair
  • Peter Bouckaret, emergency director for Human Rights Watch
  • Joseph Brown, catholic priest, author
  • Cheryl Sanders, pastor of Third Street Church in Washington, DC
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