Florida Institute of Technology to Begin New Program in African American Studies

The Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne has announced that it is offering a new course entitled Modern African American Studies. The course will serve as a core component of the university’s inaugural minor in African American studies.

Founded in 1958, the Florida Institute of Technology enrolls about 3,600 undergraduate students and more than 2,600 graduate students according to the latest data reported to the U.S. Department of Education. African Americans make up 6 percent of the undergraduate student body.

The course, offered by Florida Tech’s School of Arts and Communication in the College of Psychology and Liberal Arts, will be taught by Don Harrell, who has been serving as an adjunct faculty member in Africana studies at the University of Central Florida.

The minor will have interdisciplinary courses aimed at studying and fostering further understanding of the social, political, economic, and cultural forces that impact the lives of Black people in the U.S. and those in the Caribbean, Africa, and around the world. Courses under consideration for the new minor are focused on such topics as Black astronauts and their contributions to space science, issues at the forefront of the modern civil rights and social justice movements, Caribbean history and culture, explorations of race, gender and class, and studies of African-American literature and film.

Furaha Merritt, a senior majoring in information systems and president of the Florida Tech Black Student Union, said that “implementing this course shows that Florida Tech is invested in dismantling the barriers present in institutions of higher learning and creating opportunities for Black voices to be heard. I hope students who take this minor learn that real change can’t begin until we face the ugly truth of history in America by learning what took place and its long-lasting effects on all citizens.

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