The Program for Research on Black Americans was established in 1976 at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research by an interdisciplinary team of social scientists. They were convinced that high-quality national data on African Americans was critical for advancing academic scholarship and developing effective public policy.
In keeping with that vision, PRBA seeks to collect, analyze, and interpret empirical data on African Americans as well as international data on people of African descent. A second important goal is to provide research and training opportunities for social scientists and students of color.
Today the Program for Research on Black Americans is an impressive center of scholarship and research. The Program has over 90 scholars, research assistants, and graduate students from a wide array of disciplines committed to distinctive research. PRBA is respected both nationally and internationally for its groundbreaking research techniques and its training programs to increase the number of social scientists of African descent.
Researchers affiliated with the Program serve on advisory panels for philanthropic foundations, government policy-making bodies, and other policy advisory groups to acquaint a broad audience with the implications that PRBA research findings may have on national policy that affects African Americans.