The William Monroe Trotter Institute was founded at the University of Massachusetts Boston in 1984 to address the needs and concerns of the Black community and communities of color in Boston and Massachusetts through research, technical assistance, and public service. Many forms of technical assistance are provided to community groups, organizations, and public agencies. The institute sponsors public forums as a means of disseminating research and involving the community in the discussion of public policy and other issues impacting Blacks locally and nationally.
The institute publishes the Trotter Review, a journal of articles addressing current Black studies, race, and race relations in the United States and abroad.
The institute also publishes research reports and occasional papers on a broad range of topics in the areas of education, employment and training, public health, economic and community development, as well as race relations.
Research and other institute activities are facilitated by research and faculty associates. The Trotter Institute has conducted research for foundations across the nation, and also works with international organizations.
The institute's most recent large-scale research project, comprising nine chapters, was commissioned by the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts (ULEM) and is titled "The State of Black Boston" (SOBB). Released in the summer of 2011, SOBB was prominently featured during the Urban League National Conference, which brought delegates from around the country to Boston for the first time in almost four decades.