The history of the Black Faculty and Staff Association (BFSA) has been cyclical in nature, with several periods of tremendous enthusiasm and low-level doldrums.
- Recruitment of Black faculty, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students
- Retention, promotion, and tenuring of Black faculty and staff persons
- Work to increase opportunities so that the social, psychological, academic, and economic needs of Black students can be better met
- Provide a vehicle to increase interaction between the Black faculties and staff throughout the university system and those in Knoxville
- Provide expertise that can be utilized in bringing about better extra- and intra-university race relations
- Bring together Black UT personnel for mutual, social, and political needs
- Help Black awareness at the university through speakers, entertainment, films, books, and related activities
- Work with individual Black students, as well as the various Black university organizations, in a support and advisory capacity
- Provide a Black scholarly atmosphere by sponsoring lectures, book review sessions, and similar programs.
With Ralph Boston, the noted Olympian, as its first president, BFSA met regularly in members’ homes, created a dues structure ($20.00/year), developed a minority scholarship fund ($3,387.80), initiated a campus and community-wide voter registration drive, conducted a research symposium on African American issues (Mt. Zion Baptist Church), published research papers, produced a Black faculty/staff directory (1975), and brokered the opening of the first Black Cultural Center (1975), under the direction of Dennie Littlejohn.
It is interesting to note that in 1975, there were forty-two full-time faculty (one full professor), almost exclusively at the non-tenured, assistant professor level. The undergraduate Black student enrollment had declined from 659 to 595.
Provided by Dr. Ronald McFadden.