History of the Center

The Pan African Center for Community Studies was originally established in 1973 as The Black Culture Center, and was created to answer Black United Students’ demands for the University to recognize the African American community, articulate the need for a Black Studies Program, which is now called the Pan African Studies Program, and create a Black Cultural Center. In keeping with its changing mission, in 1998, the Black Cultural Center was renamed the Pan African Culture & Research Center. In 2002, the Center underwent another name change, and is called the Pan African Center for Community Studies. From its founding, the Center has provided opportunities for students and the community to experience the educational excellence, leadership, and legacy of African Americans offered by the University.

The Pan African Center for Community Studies combines the best of the academic world with the best of the social and community world. It combines the many missions of the urban university to be both socially and academically engaged with the society at large.

The Center also provides information to support and stimulate student research. It also is designed to connect the University to the community making the Center a resource for those who are interested in Akron’s African American past. Services offered include a variety of lectures and programs which promote student development and contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the African Diaspora, with special emphasis on the African American experience. The Center includes the Pan African Studies Program, which is an academic program that provides a general understanding of how Africans have shaped every region where they have migrated.

In the Dr. Shirla R. McClain Gallery of Akron Black History and Culture, you can see the history and experiences of African Americans who have helped develop and shape this city. It also serves as a show place for the research activities of the Pan African Center for Community Studies. The center's Black History lecture series continues to bring top-notch intellectuals to share their research with the greater Akron community.