The University of New Mexico was dealing 40 years ago with the same turmoil the rest of the country was regarding race in America. The New Mexico Office of African American Affairs premieres "40th Anniversary of Afro-American Studies," a documentary artfully presenting Albuquerque's place in the Civil Rights Movement, at the UNM Student Union Building theater on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at noon.

Not solely the purview of the southeastern United States, the struggle for full inclusion and full representation was active on the UNM campus in 1968. The documentary tells the history of the founding of Afro-American Studies – now the Africana Studies Program and African American Student Services  – at UNM from the perspective of the two students who initiated it, Barbara Brown-Simmons and Sam W.D. Johnson; UNM's first African American homecoming queen, Mary Sue Gaines; UNM's first African American dean of students, and the first two directors of Afro-American Studies, Charles Becknell, Sr. and Harold Bailey.

Bailey is now executive director of the New Mexico Office of African American Affairs, which acts as executive producer on this documentary. "During the 1970s there was a student movement at the University of New Mexico that influenced change and promoted diversity and inclusion," Bailey said. "The documentary provides information about the black experience at UNM during that time and reflects the dedication and commitment of those students responsible for the foundation of today's program."

The feature-length documentary premiere is free and co-sponsored by the UNM Black Student Union and UNM African American Student Services. A panel discussion follows the screening with the student founders, first director and first associate dean of students.

Call the New Mexico Office of African American Affairs at (505) 222-9405.