African American Studies



About the Logo

Sankofa (sang-ko-fah) Bird

The center of the logo features an image of the Sankofa bird, a West African symbol featuring a bird that faces forward, but simultaneously turns its head to look back. This symbolizes the importance of remembering one's roots - in order to recapture what has been lost and thus be able to move forward.

We should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward. Whatever we have lost, forgotten, forgone, or been stripped of, can be reclaimed, revived, preserved, and perpetuated.

United States and Africa

In the AAMS logo, the Sankofa bird is facing toward a map of the U.S., but its head is turned backward to look at a map of the African continent.


The AAMS logo represents one of the most vital aspects of the AAMS program, which is the importance of remembering the historical past in order to understand and succeed in the valuable lessons that African and African American cultures teach us today.

Designed by: Ben Visser, December 2003 Graphic Design Major