About Us

Black Studies at Portland State University



Celebrating Nearly 50 Years of Dedicated Educational Service


The Black Studies Department (BST), officially established in 1970 as the Center for Black Studies, facilitates the systematic and scientific study of the history of origins, development, nature, and culture of people of Africa and the African Diaspora as a means of reconstructing and explaining the formation and transformations in their experiences, often characterized as the "black experience", as they relate to world histories and cultures. The department serves as a forum for faculty and students of different disciplines and interests, but especially those, who share an interest in the study of the black experience. 

Group image of early BST news clips

[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.]

The objectives of the Department of Black Studies include providing comprehensive learning programs aimed at greater understanding by all people of the black experience, past, present, and future. Black Studies seeks to expose students from all cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds to academic experiences beyond those generally found in traditional college curricula. Our mission has always included a valued component of outreach efforts directed toward metropolitan community needs.  Learn more about careers with a Black Studies degree by visiting the PSU Career Center


What We Do and How We Do it

We collect and disseminate information, which accurately reflects and explains or present the black experience and serve as a link between PSU and other university or educational and cultural institutions and communities through active collaborative partnerships and community service. As an interdisciplinary academic unit within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, with a focus on the social sciences and liberal arts, the department's mission has always included a valued component of outreach efforts directed toward metropolitan community needs and is devoted to the exploration and analysis of the history, politics, and culture of African people in the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa.

Portland State University is one of the very few institutions of higher education in the Northwest and the entire nation that offers a degree in Black Studies. It is a unique degree also because it covers Africa, African America, the Caribbean, and South America on an equal basis.


Contacting the Department

Portland State University
Black Studies Department
PO Box 751
1633 SW Park Avenue, Suite 150
Portland, OR 97207

News clips from top of page: