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William Monroe Trotter Institute

The Study of Black Culture

The William Monroe Trotter Institute at UMass Boston categorically denounces the horrendous killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Aubrey and all victims of police and racial violence. We stand in support of their courageous families, communities and with all those demonstrating in solidarity across the Americas, Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania. We cannot forget to address our local experiences with police brutality that do not receive mainstream attention. We have to tap into our Black radical traditions to find new ways to fight. Many are offering a diverse range of specific solutions, such as defunding of police, transferring funds from police to communities of color, calling for the arrest of cops, the implementation of anti-racism classes, requiring police to wear body cams, the removal of racist symbols and statues, and calls for federal action against police brutality, racial profiling and militarized police. Others are realizing that they can breathe-- like dragons unmasked they are trying to wash away centuries of Black wounds by breathing fire.

The William Monroe Trotter Institute for the Study of Black Culture was founded at the University of Massachusetts Boston in 1984 to address the concerns of Black communities in Boston and Massachusetts through research, technical assistance, and public service. The Institute takes its name from early twentieth century African American activist William Monroe Trotter, whose political advocacy, radical journalism, and Black internationalism placed Black Diasporic communities across the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa in critical conversation. In this light, the Trotter Institute aims to serve as an intellectual hub that can support the mission of social justice for Black communities.

Through a research nexus of social advocacy, digital humanities, and community engagement, the Trotter seeks to map and archive Black Boston’s complex political, cultural, and socio-economic experiences. This includes research driven explorations of the intersections between race, community development, health, technology, education, gender, sustainability, diasporas, and environmental justice. Via publications such as our policy brief series Resilience, and our longstanding journal, The Trotter Review, the Institute aims to inform the public about the challenges and opportunities facing Black Boston. By disseminating such research it seeks not only to address racial disparities but to also support the socio-economic resilience of Black communities.

The Institute aims to build a digital footprint of Black Boston. This includes innovatively mapping the experiences of Black Boston in its wonderfully diverse African American, African, Caribbean, Afro-Latinx, Afro-Asian, and Pacific Islander populations. These Black communities are significant stakeholders in the cultural, economic, and political fabric of Boston and Massachusetts. 

The BFSSA (The Black Faculty, Staff, and Student Association) at UMass Boston

BFSSA Statement of Purpose Jan 3 2021.pdf

Second International Colloquium on African Studies.pdf

The African World and Black Pacific Panel.docx


Publications/In the Media

  • Second International Colloquium on African Studies.

    Second International Colloquium on African Studies. March 24-26th, 2021

  • The African World & The Black Pacific.

    The African World & The Black Pacific. Sponsored by the William Monroe Trotter Institute March 26, 2021

  • Black Studies Matter

    We are happy to announce BLACK STUDIES MATTERS, our collaborative four-part series of virtual Black History Month events.

  • "Literature, Culture, and Activism"

    "Literature, Culture, and Activism in the African American Freedom Struggle" by Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely

  • Gentrification Comes For Harriet Tubman House

    Local residents are protesting the sale while the nonprofit that owns it says selling it is crucial for its survival.

  • Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter

    William Monroe Trotter (1872–1934), though still virtually unknown to the wider public, was an unlikely American hero.

  • Changing Faces of Greater Boston

    This report includes a case study on the challenges and legacies of African Americans in Greater Boston.

  • Revolutions Won't Be Televised: The Mind of Gil Scott-Heron

    Revolutions Won't Be Televised: The Mind of Gil Scott-Heron

  • William Monroe Trotter | Thomas Jefferson's Monticello

    William Monroe Trotter | Thomas Jefferson's Monticello

  • The Hidden History of Boston

    Though arguably America's most historic city, Boston also claims its share of little-known events.

  • The Life and Times of Phillis Wheatley

    Barbara Lewis talks about the time in which poet Phillis Wheatley lived.

  • A Historical Overview of Poverty Among Blacks in Boston

    Read the Hayden Report.

  • The Living Archive: African American Poetry Panel #2

    Read Barbara Lewis's remarks regarding black poetry in the 21st Century

  • Basic Black Program: Black Art and Audiences

    A program on the arts in the African American community

  • Report on Black Lives in MA urges local community action

    Trotter Institute Director Barbara Lewis cites a demographic turnaround.

  • The Black Comparative Experience in Mass. 2015 Final Report

    This comparative research report highlights of African Americans Asian Americans, European Americans, and Latino Americans.

Giving to UMass Boston

Support the Black community and communities of color in Boston and Massachusetts through research, technical assistance, and public service through a gift to the Trotter Institute.