Georgia State needs a black men’s research institute

Located in the historic Auburn Ave neighborhood, Ebenezer Baptist Church is just blocks away from the Auburn Avenue Research Library. Photo by The BrownFowl collection on

This year, Morehouse, an HBCU, has installed the first-ever Black Men’s Research Institute (or BMRI) in the country on its campus. You may ask yourself why this long-awaited development in American collegiate history is relevant. 

What possible value could a research establishment that primarily focuses on the lives of black men in the past, present and future add to an institution of higher learning? And if you must ask this question, you would only reaffirm the necessity for such a program to exist.

To be mindful of the unique struggles and successes of black men in this country is to at once be deeply sobered by the brutal nature of American racism and yet, be wildly nonplussed with the high achievements by members of such a historically oppressed people. 

This idea is not to say that oppression and disenfranchisement are unique to Black people. The subjugation of human groups at the hands of other groups is the story of humanity across time and continents. 

It is, however, to acknowledge Black peoples’ long-time endurance of a particularized brand of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of leaders who have controlled the most powerful country in the world. 

The greatest gift someone can have is the knowledge of self. Herein lies the benefit and ultimate value in an all-Black men’s research institute. 

The compilation of a centralized body of knowledge through research, sociological experimentation and continuing robust, detailed dialogue about the life of Black men in America post-slavery can facilitate a positive rise in the station–social, economic, and spiritual–of Black men. 

This idea is the goal. Morehouse has gotten it right with this initiative in a stroke of genius. 

I’d like to see a Black men’s research institute here at Georgia State. It succeeds above many metropolitan institutions in its commitment to diversity and devotion to achieving the highest professional and learning standards. 

I believe historically disadvantaged groups can fully assert themselves without fear of repercussions for their boldness. 

Morehouse shouldn’t be the only institution in the state that recognizes the gifts of mind that black men can offer the world. 

Georgia State, too, can provide the support and attention necessary to nurture and grow talent, the strength of mind, compassion, wisdom and economic pragmatism for black men. 

Since part of the school’s mission statement champions diversity in its student body, it is the institution’s responsibility to cultivate these diverse elements. 

A research institution primarily geared towards understanding Black men’s  lives, history, struggles and successes will benefit the larger black community. 

All who support a vigorous and preeminent society should stand behind this. The apparatus is already in place here at Georgia State. This initiative could be led, for example, by the Director of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships Dr. Jacob English.

To see this manifest at our institution would be one of the great hallmarks of American university history.