INDIANAPOLIS — The Africana Studies Program in the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has received the Mary McLeod Bethune and Carter G. Woodson Award for Outstanding Service in the Promotion of Social Responsibility in Africana Studies from the National Council for Black Studies.
The award was presented at the 38th annual National Council for Black Studies Conference in March in Miami, Fla. IUPUI’s Africana Studies Program served as the local co-host of the council’s 2013 conference, along with IU Bloomington, Notre Dame and Purdue universities.
“This award acknowledges the collective efforts of Africana studies faculty, students and staff who played strategic roles in the local conference planning as well as their active participation in the NCBS conference that was held in Indianapolis last year,” said Bessie House-Soremekun, director of Africana studies and professor of political science and Africana studies. “We are deeply humbled to receive this prestigious award named in honor of two great exemplars of social responsibility, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune and Dr. Carter G. Woodson.”
The 2013 National Council for Black Studies conference, at the Westin Hotel in downtown Indianapolis, had the second highest attendance in the organization’s history. The conference, which featured more than 400 concurrent sessions, drew on the diverse talents of IUPUI Africana studies faculty, staff and students, as well as members of the Indianapolis community. Professor Monroe Little served as chair of the local arrangements committee, and IUPUI senior Kendrea Williams and graduate assistant Juhanna Rogers provided invaluable service as members of the local arrangements committee.
IUPUI and Indianapolis community members also presented papers and served as volunteers at the conference. House-Soremekun presented a welcome speech at the opening reception at the Madame Walker Theatre Center. Three IUPUI students — Stella Brown, Leon Bates and Gregory Efiom — were inducted into the National Council for Black Studies National Honor Society.
The National Council for Black Studies was founded in 1975 by African American scholars who believed in the importance of providing scholarly information on the historical contributions of Africa and the experiences of African descended people in the African Diaspora. It has emerged as one of the most respected professional organizations in the United States dedicated to engendering an ongoing respect for people of African descent.