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Black Studies Minor

Black Studies Minor

Historical experiences of peoples in Africa and the Black Diaspora

The minor in Black Studies (18hrs) allows students to explore a wide range of topics related to the experiences of African Americans and of people throughout the Black Diaspora, for example: folklore, slavery, colonization, liberation movements, literary traditions, rise/fall of ancient African civilizations, the arts, educational disparity, healthcare, mass incarceration, and identity politics.

The minor reflects the dual focus of the Center for Black Studies, which promotes classroom instruction and service-learning opportunities that increase students’ knowledge and community involvement with a critical awareness of race, systemic racism, and social justice. 


What Will I learn?

Taking courses across the disciplines, students will learn about:

  • Cultural histories that link the present socioeconomic and political conditions of Black people to past experiences

  • The creation of a Black Diaspora by forces of migration, immigration, slavery, and colonization
  • The relationship between African Americans and other ethnic groups

  • Race as a form of structural inequality that systematically affects Black people and other racial minorities


BLKS 301

Intro to Black Studies

BLKS 301: Introduction to Black Studies

We will survey the development of Black Studies as an academic discipline, its origins and evolution. Concentrating on the culture and history of people of African descent, we will discuss developments of ancient civilizations in Africa, the effects of colonization and the transatlantic slave trade, and the fluidity of a diasporic consciousness. Contemporary issues relating to Black people will be integrated into our studies. An analytical concern for intersectionality (the convergence of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, disability, etc.) to construct “black” identities will also be central to our studies. Critical race theory is therefore important to frame our work. Overall, BLKS 301 serves as a required, foundational course for the Black Studies minor to launch the exploration of black experiences in other related courses. BLKS 301 is open to students of any major and/or minor concentration.

BLKS 491 Service-Learning in Black Studies

Service learning

BLKS 491 is designed to examine how knowledge and community are intertwined by theoretical and practical means.  Specifically, the course provides an opportunity for students to engage in a community service-learning project with a local agency that focuses on social, cultural and/or economic empowerment. Community service is a key component in the Black Studies discipline. In the article Theorizing Black Studies (2004) James Jennings states that community service "focuses on changing system-based and dominant/subordinate social and economic relations and improving living conditions for Black people and, thereby, other communities." 

We work with Community Partners in each BLKS 491 course.

BLKS 450 - Seminar in Black Studies

Prerequisite(s): Students must take either BLKS 301, HIS 307, HIS 373, or HIS 374 completing at least 3hrs of the Historical Foundations in the minor. BLKS 450 explores various topics related to the experiences of Black people in the U.S. and throughout the Diaspora.

BLKS 490 - Directed Research in Black Studies

Prerequisite(s): Students must complete a minimum of three courses in the Black Studies minor track before enrolling. Research project or practicum and a directed service-learning component involving a critical aspect of Black Studies. May substitute BLKS 491 with administrative consent.

BLKS 495 - Domestic Study in Black Life and Culture

Prerequisite(s): Students must complete BLKS 301, and one history course HIS 307, HIS 373, or HIS 374. BLKS 495 is an active learning course that provides students the opportunity to travel to cultural heritage sites and institutions as part of a domestic studies program. Students will learn about Black experiences in the U.S., from enslavement to the present, with a particular focus on the South’s history and culture.

BLKS 499 - Study Abroad in Black Studies

Seminar on the culture, political and social histories of the Black diaspora conducted on location at various sites around the world.

Career Pathways

A minor in Black Studies can be paired with any major and can be achieved by integrating your studies with careful planning of the curriculum.  

  • It helps you broaden your perception of cultural diversity and gain a deeper understanding of how race relates to class, gender and sexuality, nationality, ethnicity and other social structures.
  • USM alums with a minor in Black Studies have launched their careers in teaching, journalism, criminal justice, and politics, among other areas. They were well-prepared to meet the challenges of graduate studies at top-ranked institutions in the nation.


  • US Government
  • The Arts
  • International Business Firms
  • Community Development
  • Education
  • Religion
  • Alyssa Bass, ’20
    Product Engagement Coordinator, Mississippi Today; former intern at PBS FRONTLINE
    • Jonathan Puckett, ’20
      Graduate Assistant in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at UIUC


    Minor Plan Availability
    Black Studies Undergraduate Minor Hattiesburg




    Contact Us

    Center for Black Studies

    118 College Dr. Box #5037
    Hattiesburg, MS 39406


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