A Milestone for Black Studies at Suffolk

25 years of fostering understanding among all students

Black Excellence Dinner
Professor Robert Bellinger, center, with other attendees of the 2019 Celebration of Black Excellence dinner, which honored the 25th anniversary of Black Studies at Suffolk. Photograph by Fena Fenelon

Story Andrea Grant

When Suffolk’s Black Alumni Network gathered graduates, students, faculty, and friends last fall for the annual Celebration of Black Excellence dinner, the members also commemorated a special milestone in the University’s history: the 25th anniversary of the Black Studies program.


“The field focuses on the perspectives and ways of knowing of Black people—thinking, acting, creating, building, and problem solving. We wanted to encourage students from any background to gain a fuller understanding of themselves and the world around them,” says founder and program director Professor Robert Bellinger.


The program has enriched academic and cultural life on campus through a diverse array of courses and programming, bringing renowned poets, storytellers, musicians, writers, educators, and performers to share their viewpoints and talents. Partnerships with historical sites—including a research and internship collaboration into the history of enslaved people at the Middleton Place plantation in South Carolina—have given students hands-on opportunities to apply Black Studies perspectives to the telling of American stories.


And to inspire the next generation, Bellinger has welcomed Boston Public Schools students into the classroom to earn college credit as part of the University’s dual-enrollment program.


“One of the ideas that is central to Black Studies is that of the ‘activist scholar,’ which is based on the idea that knowledge is for the sake of your community,” says Bellinger. “It’s not just learning for the sake of learning, it’s learning so you can use that knowledge to shape the communities that you’re a part of locally, nationally, and globally.”


The Suffolk University Black Alumni Network was launched in 2018 thanks to the vision of students and alumni, including double Ram and trustee Ernst Guerrier, BS ’91, JD ’94. The network celebrates and serves current and future Black alumni through events, mentoring, philanthropy, and volunteerism.


Suffolk University Magazine

[email protected]
Suffolk University Office of Public Affairs
73 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02108-2770