In 1980 The Association of Black Faculty and Staff became officially registered as an organization at The University of Texas at Austin. The group remained active for approximately two to three years and then dissolved. In 1985 the organization was resurrected by Brenda Burt and Darrell Harrison, and assisted by Clemith Houston. In 1986, racial incidents on campus sparked new interest in the group and they became more active. In 1989 the Black Faculty/Staff Reorganization Committee was reorganized at the same time that Dr. Wanda Nelson joined the University’s staff. The name was changed to African American Staff Advocating Progress.
Dr. Wanda Nelson served as the first president of the newly named African-American Staff Advocating Progress. Talks began informally with several people about the possibility of organizing another group and their responses were favorable. Most of these people were in the Office of the Dean of Students. Those who are still on campus include Mrs. Brenda Burt and Mrs. Lillie M. Miller. Others are Mr. Curtis Polk, Mrs. Renee Polk, Ms. Rosa Hunt, Dr. John Warfield, Dr. Rueben McDaniel and Mr. Llewellyn Fambles (who suggested the name: African-American Staff Advocating Progress).
The vision among the group for the organization, were as follows:
- To serve as a vehicle through which African-American faculty and staff could support each other on campus. This support could range from distribution of a registry of black businesses/services in Austin to collaborative research efforts.
- To serve as a unified voice to the University’s administration about the concerns and needs of African American faculty, staff, and students.
- To be a support system for African-American students.
- To celebrate cultural events and include the larger campus community to become more culturally aware of African-American contributions to our society.