Study Guide

Ethnic Studies Timeline

How It All Went Down

1903: W.E.B. Du Bois publishes The Souls of Black Folk

It's 1903, and Du Bois is way ahead of the game. His account of what it means to be African American in the U.S. will become one of the foundational texts of Ethnic Studies.

1954-1968: Civil Rights Movement

African Americans and other ethnic minorities are standing up for equal rights: marches, protests, and acts of civil disobedience are all over the newspaper headlines. Some of the results: desegregation, the rise of "Black Power," and, soon enough, the beginning of Ethnic Studies.

1968: San Francisco State University student strike for Ethnic Studies

Ethnic minority students—including Native Americans, African Americans, Filipino Americans, and Asian Americans—cut classes to protest the lack of Ethnic Studies programs and courses at the University.

1968: Berkeley student strike for Ethnic Studies

Students at Berkeley follow the lead of students at San Francisco State University and stop going to classes.

1969: College of Ethnic Studies is founded at San Francisco State University

The student strike pays off big time when San Francisco State University gives in to student pressure and establishes the first College of Ethnic Studies in the country.

1969: Department of Ethnic Studies is founded at Berkeley

Berkeley gives in to students and faculty, and the second Ethnic Studies program in the country is founded. From then on, Ethnic Studies programs mushroom in universities all over the country.

1969: Vine Deloria, Jr. publishes Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto

This manifesto was a huge influence on the "Red Power" movement of the 1960s, which was all about Native Americans agitating for a fairer deal. They were in America first, after all.

1987: Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza

Gloria Anzaldua's mix of theory, poetry and autobiography in this book takes people by storm. In this book, she develops her thoughts on the "border," which becomes one of the most important concepts in Chicano/a Studies.

1989: Ronald Takaki publishes Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans

This is one of the first comprehensive histories of Asian Americans in the United States. Yes: Asian Americans have been here all along, too.

1989: Renato Rosaldo publishes Culture and Truth: The Remaking of Social Analysis

It's about to get relative: Rosaldo argues that truth is always a matter of cultural perspective. According to him, nothing is completely, 100% objective.

1992: Toni Morrison publishes Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination

Morrison's a rock star: not only is she a Nobel Prize-winning novelist, she's also a smarty-pants literary critic. In this book, she shows how that ethnicity and race aren't just issues in ethnic literature—they also play a big role in literature written by white American authors.

2000: Philip Q. Yang publishes Ethnic Studies: Issues and Approaches 

Finally, someone brings together all of these different ethnic perspectives in one book and explains what they all have in common.