Honoring Black History Month, the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies held a special tribute for renowned civil rights champion Harold Cruse yesterday by celebrating the publication of his latest book.

Shabina Khatri
Former Center for Afroamerican and African Studies department chair Harold Cruse spoke yesterday in Haven Hall.

Famous for his 1967 “Crisis of the Negro Intellectual” Cruse has been a pioneer in black studies nationwide and an active member of black social and political academic elite.

“Our goal is survival – survival for a place in whatever the new order is going to be.”

At the book signing reception held yesterday at CAAS, Cruse, a professor emeritus at the University, emphasized the need for progression in the African-American movement, from substituting the 1960s protest style in favor of more efficient organizational methods necessary for the 21st century.

“We will not escape with 20th century methods,” Cruse said. He added that a majority of what the black community knows will no longer be enough to survive in the 21st century.

“We have not reached the kind of organizational level necessary in the United States,” Cruse said.

“We have not reached the kind of organizational level necessary in the United States,” Cruse said.

Elizabeth James, program associate of CAAS, said as the first acting director of the newly-formed CAAS in 1969, Cruse was instrumental in the program’s establishment and advocated for the center to be recognized as an academic department at the University.

“He is the rock upon which CAAS has been founded,” said Evans Young, LSA assistant dean of undergraduate education and former assistant director of CAAS.

He added that Cruse has been a fighter who has stood up for black people and black studies.

Reflecting on the Bush administration’s war on terrorism, Cruse labeled the “war” as a clash of civilizations.

“No matter what our status in society is, we are the projection of the underdeveloped world in the U.S., which is at war with the developed states of the world,” Cruse said.

Prof. Ed Harold of Wayne State University praised Cruse’s multifaceted academic philosophies.

“The number of social and political worlds he engages in is amazing,” he said.

“I think it’s great the center had the insight to reach back to its roots, so that it has a better idea of where it will go in the future,” said Anthony Bailey, a senior majoring in communication technology at Easter Michigan University.

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