African-American Studies Celebrates 50 Years at UM

February 01, 2018

MISSOULA – The University of Montana’s African-American Studies program and the Black Student Union will celebrate their 50-year anniversary with a week of activities Feb. 10-18.

The program will hold a free screening of the 1984 science fiction film “The Brother From Another Planet” at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, at the Roxy Theater, located at 718 S. Higgins Ave. Representative of the Afrofuturist tradition, the film explores modern racism by following an escaped enslaved alien as he attempts to elude his captors.

Darlene Clark Hine, one of this country’s preeminent scholars in African-American history, will present the next installment of the UM’s President’s Lecture Series on Monday, Feb. 12. Hine will hold a seminar titled “The Rights of Citizens: Black Professionals in Medicine and Law, 1895-1954” at 3 p.m. in Gallagher Business School Room 123. She then will present the lecture “Black Professionals: Origins of the Civil Rights Movement, 1895-1955” at 8 p.m. in the Dennison Theatre.

The Black Student Union and the African-American Studies program will co-sponsor the Black Solidarity Summit, a student-led and organized symposium, on Sunday, Feb. 18. Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King will highlight the summit with a talk at 7 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom.

To receive priority seating and participate in the full array of Black Solidary Summit activities, registration is required. Register at

Black Studies at UM began in May 1968. It was the third such program in the country after Cal State Los Angeles and Cal State Long Beach. UM President Robert Pantzer hired founding director Ulysses Doss after UM students Thamani Akbar, Dee Daniels, Herb White and Mace Gray advocated for the creation of a Black Studies program.

Murray Pierce currently serves as the adviser to the Black Student Union with the support of student BSU President Meshayla Cox. Tobin Miller Shearer is the director of African-American Studies at UM. The program graduated its first class of majors last year and has grown five-fold during the past 10 years.

For more information on these African-American Studies 50th anniversary events, call  Shearer at 406-662-8227, email or visit the program’s website at


Contact: Tobin Miller Shearer, director, UM African-American Studies, 406-662-8227,