Africa & African-American Studies

Thematic Programs

Explore the curricular programs and lecture series offered by the Africa & African-American Studies Program.

Local Focus

Local Focus

From Mary McLeod Bethune to Zora Neale Hurston, students learn about the history of the African-American community in Central Florida though curricular programs and lectures.


In 1904, Mary McLeod Bethune founded a Normal Industrial School for girls and later transformed the institution into a premier coeducational liberal arts college. In 1949, Hamilton Holt made Rollins the first institution of higher education in the South to grant an honorary degree to an African American.

His action threatened his reputation, as well as his job. A Rollins legend states Holt threatened to resign as President of the College when the Board of Trustees agreed with his recommendation of Bethune’s worthiness for the degree, but refused to grant it during that tumultuous time. Supposedly, after hearing their decision, Holt politely excused himself from the meeting with the trustees, only to return an hour later with his letter of resignation in hand. The trustees promptly reversed their decision.


The goal of Mosaic projects is to promote a synergistic dialogue among faculty and enhance student understanding of the Africa and African-American experience. Using a designated central theme, the project brings together faculty and students across campus. Learn More

Lecture Series

The Africa & African-American Studies program hosts a lecture series that features both Rollins faculty and visiting scholars. Learn More

Engage with the Community

As part of the "Be a Part from the Start" initiative led by the Office of Community Engagement at Rollins College, first-year students journeyed to The Heritage Center of Hannibal Square to learn about the history of the African-American community in Winter Park. Watch Video