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Frequently Asked Questions

These are the questions that are most frequently asked of the African American Cultural Center. If you need further information, please contact us at (724) 357-2455.

When and why was the center established? What is its purpose?

Until July 1995, the African American Cultural Center was named the Black Cultural Center. At that time, the name was changed to the African American Cultural Center to reflect the notion that the focus is more upon the history, culture, achievements, contributions, and struggles of Africans and people of African descent and not necessarily upon skin color.

The most recent available data indicate that the center was established in the mid-1970s to provide a variety of social, educational, cultural, and recreational activities that helped to enhance the educational experience at IUP for African American students, providing them with a home-away-from-home type of experience that may serve to facilitate their college retention and graduation.

The mission of the center has evolved and continues to evolve. It still maintains the above focus. But, while it targets African American heritage and culture, it exists to assist the university with meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse student population. To that end, the African American Cultural Center is dedicated to the enhancement of multiculturalism. It strives to foster growth development, cultural awareness, and racial sensitivity among IUP students, faculty, administrators, staff, and in the local community.

What services does the center offer?

The center provides a variety of cultural, educational, social, and recreational programs yearly. It also assists with minority student leadership development and maintains various resources and facilities that are designed to promote cross-cultural interactions and informal exchanges as well as supplement classroom instruction. These resources and facilities include an annual calendar of events (RAAMA, i.e. Resources of African American and Multicultural Activities), a directory of predominantly African American student organizations (UJAAMA), monthly bulletins, lounging and meeting facilities, a library of resources on African American heritage and culture, and selected sound and stereo equipment.

The center also advises several predominantly African American student organizations—the Black Student League (a governing body), the Black Emphasis Committee (a programming body), and the African American Dance Ensemble—while assisting others as needed.

For further information on the center’s programs and services, contact us at (724) 357-2455, and/or see the calendar of events, services and facilities that are available at these websites.

Does the center have an African American library?

Yes, the center maintains a Resource Library of African American Heritage and Culture. Materials and resources include books, magazines, journals, newspapers, and videos. The library holdings are generally updated yearly. Most materials can be checked out by members of the IUP and local community. The loan period depends on the respective item being sought for check-out. See our Facilities section for further information on loan periods.

Aren’t the center and its services primarily for African Americans?

No. While the center focuses on African/African American heritage, history, and culture, it is open to all members of the IUP and local community and assists both minority and majority students. Furthermore, African/African American cultural centers, like African American studies, are essentially humanizing, multidimensional, and multidisciplinary entities that “focus upon Black thought and behavior in their multidimensionality” (Okafor, 1996, p. 698). Being inclusive only to blacks is, therefore, counterproductive and incongruent with the underlying reasoning for the existence of African American studies, i.e., the predecessor to African/African American cultural centers.

As Ohaegbulam (1990, p.16) indicated, African American studies exist to perform the following specific services:

  1. To educate and re-educate students about the nature and dynamics of the black experience in America and throughout the world
  2. To include, in current curriculum, formerly omitted information on the black experience
  3. To correct distorted and erroneous perceptions of the black experience
  4. To provide knowledge that can be used to develop the black community worldwide
  5. To bring about reform in society at large and to foster universal racial justice
  6. To provide white students an understanding of black culture and an experience that will help them to combat their socially acquired cultural ethnocentrism and to promote greater human understanding in the white community
  7. To assist students in acquiring the information and attitudes necessary for their full development as human beings and for living and working effectively in a multicultural environment (Okafor, p. 703)

It can be said that the same general philosophical perspectives underlie African/African American cultural centers in general, as well as the center at IUP. The primary difference between Black Studies and the respective centers is that African/African American cultural centers extend to the surrounding communities.

  • African American Cultural Center
  • Susan S. Delaney Hall, Suite B25
    920 Grant Street
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-2455
  • Fax: 724-357-6196
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.