AHA Activities

Report of the 1994 Committee on Minority Historians

Allison Blakely, March 1995

The Committee on Minority Historians continues in its efforts to highlight issues of particular concern to minorities within the profession. The committee members during 1994 were Allison Blakely (Howard Univ.), Deena Gonzalez (Pomona Coll.), Antonio Rios-Bustamante (Univ. of Arizona), Joseph Taylor (Bethune-Cookman Coll.), Gordon Chang (Stanford Univ.), Donald L. Fixico (Western Michigan Univ.), and Claire Sanders (graduate student, Univ. of North Carolina). Noralee Frankel, assistant director for women and minorities, and Lynne Lee have continuously provided excellent support for the committee's endeavors. James Gardner, as acting executive director, and Sandria Freitag, as executive director, also attended the committee's two regular meetings during the past year and have made every effort to advance the committee's objectives.

At its meetings the committee's discussions and decisions centered on several current and future projects: establishment of the annual Wesley-Logan Book Prize for the best work on African diaspora studies; final planning for a pamphlet series entitled Teaching Diversity: Peoples of Color and Women of Color (formerly Diversity Within America); promotion of the Association's Why Become a Historian? brochure; proposal of a database of minority historians; and proposals of sessions for the Association's annual meetings. The committee also made a commitment to formulate specific measures for recruitment, retention, and development of minority faculty and students in the historical profession.

With special assistance from the AHA Council, the first Wesley-Logan Book Prize was awarded in January at the Association's 109th meeting in Chicago. The endowment for the award is, however, still $6,000 short of the desired level, even counting a $5,000 matching donation pledged by the AHA Council. The committee therefore extends its appeal for further donations, which may be sent to the AHA office in Washington.

The committee's sponsored session at the 108th meeting was a panel, "Historical Documentaries of American Diversity," based on three films shown at the meeting. Completing the panel, which was chaired by Antonio Rios-Bustamante, were Mike Fraga (Illinois Math and Science Academy) and Christine Marin (Arizona State Univ.). At the 109th meeting the sponsored session was "American Indian Persistence in the Pacific States in the 20th Century." Chaired by Frederick E. Hoxie (Newberry Library), the session featured papers by Clifford E. Trafzer (Univ. of California at Riverside), Tanis Chapman Thorne (Univ. of California at Los Angeles), and E. A. Schwartz (California State Univ. at San Marcos). The committee also hosted receptions at both annual meetings, both of which were well attended. In the course of the year the committee benefited particularly from advice and support from the chair of the Committee on Women Historians and the Professional and Teaching Divisions.

The committee wishes to thank the following members who rotated off during the year: Antonio Rios-Bustamante, Gordon Chang, Deena Gonzalez, and Claire Sanders.

Allison Blakely, Chair
Committee on Minority Historians