Columbia has a wealth of online resources detailing the breadth of the African American experience. Learn more about some of the great Columbians who have played key roles in our local and national history.

Did You Know?

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Who is the physician the American Chemical Society calls "one of the most important scientists of the 20th century?"

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This judge won nine of the 10 cases she argued before the U.S. Supreme Court and helped write the legal brief for the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case.

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Who is the engineer who became the first African American woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company?

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This scholar-athlete taught Latin and played professional football to pay his way through Columbia Law School, before going on to become a great orator and actor.

Image credits: Smithsonian Institution; Columbia University Medical Center Archives & Special Collections; U.S. Army. Music credit: Tigoolio, "Mistress of the Dawn" http://ccmixter.org/people/tigoolio

Charles R. Drew, MD, MSD (1904-1950), was an American surgeon whose expertise in blood preservation helped shape blood banking in the United States. His doctoral work was completed at Columbia, and in 1940 he became the first African American to receive a doctor of medical science degree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The African American Experience

A number of faculty and interdisciplinary centers at Columbia are engaged in research that chronicles and illuminates this important part of American history and culture.

African Diaspora Studies

Interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching on African Diaspora, urbanism, Black political and religious thought, Black cultural studies, and critically engaged research

Alexander Gumby Collection of Negroiana

Columbia Rare Book & Manuscripts Library houses the scrapbooks and archives of amateur historian Alexander Gumby.

Crusading for Justice

An interactive timeline of Columbia Law School's many connections to the Civil Rights movement

Harlem History

A wealth of archival treasures and scholarship about the history of one of the world's most famous and influential neighborhoods

Columbia University & Slavery

This project explores Columbia's connections with slavery and antislavery movements from its founding in 1754 through the end of the Civil War.

Jazz Studies

Columbia's Center for Jazz Studies provides new models for innovative teaching and scholarly inquiry in the arts, humanities and sciences.