Centers and institutes are important components of the academic, research, and service mission of a college or university. They play an important role in enabling multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary programs and are a necessary part of a college or university’s infrastructure.

Centers and institutes have the potential for strengthening disciplinary programs by providing interdisciplinary course work, offering service learning opportunities, facilitating certificate programs, supporting degree program, enabling high levels of research productivity and providing external visibility for the college or university.

Here is a list of active Centers and Institutes at HBCUs:

Center for the Study of HBCUs | Virginia Union University

The Center for the Study of HBCUs, in partnership with the Southern Education Foundation (SEF), at Virginia Union University is a national research center whose vision is to become the country’s preeminent institution for the advancement of scholarship on Black colleges in the United States an beyond.

The national research center will conduct high-quality studies, serves as a connection and convener of the HBCU scholarly community, and disseminate publications that focus on the history, mission, and management of HBCUs.

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Center for Social Justice | Claflin University

Claflin’s Center for Social Justice embodies a number of Claflin’s guding principles, most importantly Commitment to Valuing People. At Claflin, people are valued by providing a safe, wholesome and healthy environment that fosters mutual respect, diversity, and inclusion. The Center of Social Justice at Claflin provides a platform of its mission to lead a national movement of change.

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Social Justice Institute | Philander Smith College

The work and mission of Philander Smith College is deeply rooted in social justice and equity – going back to its founding nearly a century and a half ago. Reimagined and reinvented in 2017 with strategic thought partners Auburn Theological Seminary and Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, the institute works to transform the campus, the community and the world.

The Institute seeks to embrace and catalyze work in social justice across multiple domains: education, health, environment, community, economics, politics, identity, civil, criminal, religious, racial, gender, and age.

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Law Center | Southern University System

The mission of the Law Center is consistent with the rich heritage of the Southern University System. The Law Center stresses legal education of high quality for qualified students from diverse backgrounds.

The Southern University Law Center is proud of the tradition established by the original School of Law – to provide quality legal education commensurate with high professional standards. The vision that compels the Law Center to seek excellence in every aspect of its program also fosters an environment that stimulates the intellectual processes and promotes professional development.

The center offers a dual degree Juris Doctor/Masters in Public Administration (JD/MD) program in cooperation with the Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Southern University and A&M College.

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The John R. Lewis Institute for Social Justice | Fisk University

The John R. Lewis Institute is a continuation of the famous Race Relations Institute (RRI), which shaped so many conversation and policies during the 60s and 70s. The social, political, and economic issues that RRI founder Fisk President Charles S. Johnson identified during the 1940s are still critical to addressing and improving the existing disparities in the African American community.

This Institute includes a master’s program in social justice, in addition to certificate programs and undergraduate projects, research and forums.

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Center for Racial Justice | Dillard University

The mission of Dillard University’s Center for Racial Justice (CRJ) is to bring systemic change to the way policies is done in communities of color and to promote partnerships with law enforcement including police departments and sheriff’s office, graduate, and professional schools. The Center for Racial Justice will be a reservoir for lectures, research, advocacy training, civic engagement, and political participation.

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John Mercer Langston Institute for African-American Political Leadership | Virginia State University

The John Mercer Langston Institute for African-American Political Leadership (JMLI) at Virginia State University was created to honor the legacy of John Mercer Langston, the first African American Congressional Representative from Virginia and first president of Virginia State University.

JMLI’s mission seeks to assess, develop, and empower African American political leadership in the Commonwealth of Virginia through innovative programming, research, and advocacy. The Institute strives to promote an increased understanding of the historical significance, unique role and challenges faced by African American political leaders. A highlight of JMLI’s programming is the development and engagement of collegiate scholars who are interested in activism and pursuing careers in political science and public administration.

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– Updated November 9, 2020

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