NSU introduces Black studies minor


Tyrenisha James

Jeremiah Hollins, junior criminal justice major, scrolls through Black History website while discussing the new Black Studies minor.

Students at Northwestern State University of Louisiana now have the opportunity to add a Black studies minor to their degree plan.

According to Rebecca Riall, an assistant professor at NSU and acting coordinator of ethnic studies, pre-law and paralegal studies, the idea was prompted by students and faculty.

“We built a couple of pilot classes and they went really well,” Riall said. “It inspired me to push to go ahead and launch Black studies and American Indian studies.”

Jeremiah Hollins, junior criminal justice major, and Kennedi Carter, senior communication major, were among the many students enrolled in one of pilot Civil Rights Law and History classes.

Hollins said the classes were educational and informative.

“It gave us an opportunity to explore the history of the Civil Rights Movement,” Hollins said.

Carter spoke on the book she was assigned during the pilot course, “Black Against Empire” by Joshua Bloom and Waldo Martin.

“It was very informative because I never learned about the Black Panthers in high school,” Carter said.

Riall said the curriculum for the minor was important because she wants students to develop an understanding of race in the United States.

Riall said the catalog was reviewed during the selection of the minor’s curriculum.

“We found the ones that related most strongly to Black studies and Indigenous studies, and we added those in as part of the curriculum,” Riall said.

The Black studies minor consists of four mandatory courses: Survey of Race in the U.S.,Standing up for Diversity and Equity, African American History through Reconstruction and African American History After Reconstruction.

An additional nine hours is required with at least three hours in social science. The minor includes subjects such as anthropology, English, geography, history and music.

Riall noted an African Diaspora Art History class will be added to the list soon.

Riall stated she would like to see Black studies become a major at NSU.

“I think that would be very helpful to students, and that’s a great major to take into fields like education and business,” Riall said. “ It shows that you have a background and you have knowledge.”