TAMU-CC Students Get the Opportunity to Learn About the New Black Studies Minor Beginning in the Fall


Dr. Erika Edwards laughs as she answers an interview question. Photo by Lillian Crane

Chloe Tilley, Editor-In-Chief

On Wednesday, Apr. 12, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) hosted an event that invited Islanders to learn more about the Black Studies minor. This event was an informal meet and greet lunch with special guest Dr. Erika Edwards.

       The meet and greet lunch took place at 12:30 p.m. in Lonestar Ballroom A and invited students to meet professors who are teaching courses that fall under the Black Studies minor. These professors included Dr. Sinae Lee, Dr. Jarred Wiehe, Dr. Sarah Salter, and Dr. Ariel Kelley. Course descriptions and objectives pertaining to the new minor were provided.  

Dr. Salter talking to student
Dr. Sarah Salter goes over the new course curriculum with Sam Sweeney, junior environmental science major, during the Black Studies Lunch. Photo by Lillian Crane

       Dr. Edwards expressed why this new Black Studies minor would give TAMU-CC students a new learning opportunity: “ [The Black Studies minor] gives [students] the universal education that students are paying for. Period. It allows them to learn about potentially their own culture or another person’s culture, or the United States in a different way. So being that it’s interdisciplinary, it’s also very encompassing for those that may have different interests and see how they are applied to Black Studies. So, this is what the university is for, this is universal education,” Dr. Edwards said.

       “I hope they get a sense of knowing more about the United States, about the African diaspora and about the African continent, knowing more about Blackness and Black people, but also an opportunity to grow and make connections, and see that it’s not just a unique or isolated conversation, but there are ways to connect to experiences of Black people,” Dr. Edwards said. 

       Society at large is heavily inspired by Black culture, from fashion to music, yet non-black people do not take into account the people behind those influences. Taking classes and attending community events pertaining to the Black Studies minor will educate the community at large and give humanity to the people who influence our culture. 

      “I think part of the other thing we are hoping that this program will do on our campus is helping students think and learn more about the complicated intersectional identities that they have, and to give them opportunities to learn across different kinds of historical contexts or historical populations,” Dr. Salter said. “It’s an important and powerful opportunity to use faculty appointments and support from people like Dean Campbell to help students have access to the learning opportunities that they want.”  

       Diversity and inclusion are essential to diverse spaces, such as the Island University. Students from campus demanded that the curriculum be more inclusive and help provide a history of Black people and culture. 

       “Students on this campus have worked really hard to build places like [the] Black Student Union, to care for each other, and to make each other feel welcome in this space where they have not always had that opportunity to do so. And to help put together and celebrate an academic program that also addresses those kinds of conversations, but also welcomes all kinds of other folks. It’s a wonderful opportunity for the community,” Dr. Salter said.

       The description for Black Studies states, “Black Studies is an interdisciplinary field that includes arts, history, sciences, geography, literature, sociology, and political science, amongst other disciplines. This field explores the history and lived experience of people of African descent, their shared experiences, contributions, victories, and struggles. The TAMU-CC Black Studies program encourages learning, reflection, and knowledge production centered on the histories and experiences of Black people.” This description was written under the collaboration of Dr. Le’Trice Donaldson and Dr. Sarah Salter. 

       Classes have opened for Fall 2023 registration and students can sign up for classes that allow them to learn more about the Black diaspora. These courses include BLKS 2300 – Intro to Black Studies, ENGL 2310 – Black Writers, MUSI 3310 – History of Jazz, SOCI 3312 – Racial and Ethnic Relations, COMM 4345 – Intercultural Communication, and ENGL 4361 – Race and Ethnicity in Literature. 

       For more information on the Black Studies minor, contact Dr. Le’Trice Donaldson at [email protected], Dr. Sarah Salter at [email protected], or Maricela Alexander at [email protected]