Like the Department itself, the African American and African Studies Community Extension Center (CEC) exists as a result of national demands by students, faculty, and community advocates in the aftermath of the waning Civil Rights Movement.
The demand for Black Studies programs during the late 1960s foregrounded the under-representations of Black students in higher education, as well as the lack of inclusion of the Black experience and Black intellectual, social, cultural, and political contributions in the traditional disciplines.
The emergence of Black Studies programs and departments filled those educational gaps in colleges and university curricula. The pioneers of the discipline, however, recognized the importance of not being myopic in focus and limiting the mission of the discipline to work within the walls of academia. Social responsibility is a critical foundational pillar of the discipline that is carried out at the CEC through public-facing scholarship, community-engaged programming, and fostering political action for social change.
First opened in 1972 on Ohio Avenue, the CEC moved to 905 Mount Vernon Avenue in 1985 after the Ohio General Assembly allocated state capital improvement funds to construct the current building.