Group of students walking on campus

African American Studies

Committed to Community

Briana Gipson ’19 is a double major in economics and African American studies. A member of Zeta Phi Beta, BSEO, Student Senate and Coe’s Committee on Diversity, Briana also works with the Cedar Rapids Civil Rights Commission. Her passion for community engagement earned her a 2018 Newman Civic Fellowship.


Why African American Studies at Coe?

The African American studies major offers students the opportunity to study African American culture through an interdisciplinary approach. Students take courses in areas such as history, literature and sociology in order to gain a deep understanding of the major figures and movements that have helped define African American culture, as well as the lived experiences of African Americans in the United States and the world.

African American culture is a crucial strand of the American experience as a whole, and students who study African American studies develop a strong foundation for thinking critically about both African American life, as well as the United States, in all of its multicultural complexity.

Kaylee Skweres

Flexibility to follow your dreams

Kaylee Skweres '20

"Coe stands out because of the opportunities and uniqueness in its programs. The African American Studies Program has been flexible in helping me find classes to fit my major, and that will help me stand out as a future teacher."

As an African American studies major, Kaylee has been able to study in both the fields of history and English, while using her major to pursue a career in secondary education. She also took advantage of Coe's May Term to travel to the Dominican Republic and study the Parsely Massacre. Noting Coe's flexibility, uniqueness and range of classes, Kaylee says nothing compares to the care and support of Coe's professors.