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VCU’s Department of African American Studies enjoys a rich and distinguished history as the second department of its kind created in Virginia. The pioneers who created the department as it exists today were not without challenges and setbacks, but these visionaries persevered in their commitment to teach and understand the experience of African Americans. The field of African American Studies is not without controversy, but scholars embrace these challenges as opportunities to explore and resolve critical social issues. African American Studies in the past and today imparts knowledge that contributes to positive social change.