Celebrate and Honor Charles E. Sykes, D.M.E.

In addition, Sykes served as affiliate faculty in African American and African Diaspora Studies and Folklore and Ethnomusicology, developing what is generally considered the first collegiate course on the history of Motown Records. He also published several articles and lectured internationally on the subject.

Over his years of service, Sykes has collected hundreds of stories regarding the history of the AAAI, including working directly with Herman Hudson, its founder. As one of the few institute historians, Sykes will continue working with the AAAI in a limited capacity to document its history and assist with the upcoming 50th-anniversary celebrations for the African American Arts Institute and African American Dance Company in (2024-2025) and African American Choral Ensemble (2025-2026).

Celebrating a Commitment to Excellence

On Saturday, May 18, at 6:00 p.m., family, friends, colleagues, and alumni, near and far, are invited to attend a Motown retirement celebration to honor Charles Sykes at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center in Bloomington, Indiana.

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Please help us celebrate by sharing photos, a favorite story, or recording a message of congratulations. Your memories and messages will be shared with him during the retirement celebration.

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james wimbush

The African American Arts Institute is an important part of why Indiana University is such a special place, and Charles Sykes has been instrumental in bringing the uniqueness and creativity that is the AAAI to so many people. His contributions and influence are a critical part of the institute’s history.

James C. Wimbush, Indiana University’s vice president for diversity, equity & inclusion and Johnson Chair for Diversity and Leadership.