Black Studies Program

Black Studies at a glance

Mission statement

The mission of the Black Studies Program is to foster academic excellence and success for all students at Cleveland State University and to provide the greater Cleveland metropolitan area with opportunities to acquire knowledge and appreciation of the history and culture of people of African descent.

Vision Statement

The Black Studies Program seeks to promote academic excellence, success for all students, and knowledge to foster multiracial, multiethnic, and multicultural partnerships within larger society. The Black Studies Program offers academic opportunities, activities, and services for the enrichment and education of Cleveland State University’s students, faculty, and staff, as well as the greater Cleveland metropolitan area.


Founded in 1969, Cleveland State University’s Black Studies Program is one of the nation’s oldest interdisciplinary course of study. The Black Studies Program provides undergraduate students an opportunity to study the history, culture, socio-economic and political developments of people of African descent, and their contributions to world civilizations. The principle geographic domains of this academic discipline are the United States, South America, Africa, and increasingly Western Europe where large communities of persons of African descent reside.

The Black Studies Program offers scholarly programs and events that benefit and engage the university campus and the greater Cleveland metropolitan area. The primary objective of the Black Studies Program is to provide Cleveland State and the broader community with opportunities to acquire knowledge and appreciation of the history, culture, and experiences of black people. This objective is accomplished through six (6) components of the Black Studies Program, which include:

  • Howard A. Mims African American Cultural Center
  • Images: A Public Affairs Radio Forum
  • Curtis Wilson Lecture
  • Black Aspirations Week
  • Lecture, Art and Media Series
  • Jazz Heritage Orchestra

While the Black Studies Program focuses largely on the African-American experience, it also seeks to promote greater awareness of the African diaspora, particularly the global connections of black people. Courses offered through the Black Studies Program provide students with a multi-dimensional understanding of the African diaspora. Not only will students acquire knowledge of the racial injustices inflicted on people of African descent and the lingering effects of white supremacy, but also they will learn of the accomplishments and contributions that black people have made to the world.