Dr. Lauren Araiza, Associate Professor of History and Black Studies, presented her paper-in-progress entitled, “'For Once We Weren't Good Little Girls': Gender and the Black Campus Movement at Mills College,” to colleagues on campus, Friday, April 21st, 2017.
Dr. Araiza presented a shorter version of this paper at the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians on April 8 in New Orleans. This paper is part of a larger book project about the Black Campus movement at women's colleges in the U.S. In her research Dr. Araiza is conducting oral history interviews with former students and administrators at Mills College who were involved in this historic era of activism at Mills. Nationally this era of activism transformed curricula at colleges across the nation to include Black Studies courses and establish Black Studies and Ethnic Studies programs throughout Higher Education. At Mills the activism of the Black Student Union led to the establishment of the first Ethnic Studies department at a women's college and one of the first such departments nationally. Other outcomes of this activism led to the hiring of Black faculty and increased recruitment of students of color. Women's colleges have been overlooked in the study of the Black student activism of this era, but Dr. Araiza's work seeks to correct this.
Dr. Araiza will begin serving as the incoming Chair of the History Department at Denison in the fall of 2017. Her first book entitled: To March for Others: The Black Freedom Struggle and the United Farm Workers (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013) examines the history of Black Civil Rights and activist groups in the U.S. who built solidarities with the United Farm Workers Union led by Cesar Chavez to resist the exploitation of agricultural workers.