Only program of its kind in the Pacific Northwest

The Black Studies Department, officially established in 1970, centers the experiences, voices, and research of people of African descent as a way to challenge dominant narratives. Our research and teaching covers pre- and post-colonial Africa and the African Diaspora in its multiple regions.

COVID-19 Update: Our office in Parkmill 150 is physically closed, but we are still here to help you. You can email us at, or starting Sept. 28, stop by our Virtual Front Desk on Zoom, Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Two students looking at laptop

COVID-19 Support for Students

Hardship funds are available for students needing help with technology, food, rent, transportation and/or other basic needs. 


Student reading a book at the library

Major or Minor in Black Studies

We offer a major, minor and post-baccalaureate certificate. Our innovative program incorporates courses from many departments and focuses on the historical and contemporary issues of people of African, African American, Afro-Latin@ and Caribbean descent.

News clips from 1969-1970 about the establishment of the department.  To view the articles, please click on the links at the bottom of the page.

Studying Black America

Established in 1970, the Center for Black Studies at Portland State University facilitates the study of the past and present experiences of Black America.

Woman speaking at MLK event

Black Bag Speaker Series

The series provides a forum for people and organizations doing work that addresses issues related to the community of Black people in Portland.

Student leaning against rail

Support Our Department

Your tax-deductible gift goes toward providing opportunities for our students.