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The Institute on Black Life



The Institute on Black Life (IBL)  was established in the fall of 1986.  IBL’s founding director was Dr. Juel Shannon Smith.  Her vision of a resilient university-community relationship continues to be a strategic goal of IBL and the University of South Florida. The mission of the Institute on Black Life (IBL) is to serve as a vibrant resource on the history and culture of people of African descent in Africa and the African Diaspora.  Toward that end, IBL supports knowledge production through a range of interdisciplinary research projects and research-based programs.  IBL strives to build active and collaborative partnerships with faculty, academic departments and students across the USF campus community; with local groups and organizations in the Tampa Bay area; and with cultural and educational institutions in the global community. 

IBL’s Goals include the following:

  • To facilitate and support knowledge production—through research and scholarly exchange—on African history and culture and to develop research foci on complex issues relevant to the lives of contemporary Africans. This includes such issues related to health, economics, gender and violence, politics, genocide, and dislocation.
  • To facilitate and support knowledge production and scholarly exchange on the history and culture of people of the African Diaspora with a particular focus on African-Americans and people of African descent in and from Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • To support student success at the University of South Florida in the areas of retention, academic achievement, creativity and professional development.
  • To recognize the interests of specific communities and/or organizations in order to facilitate engagement and collaborations through research and service projects. 


Institute on Black Life
University of South Florida
4202 E. Fowler Ave. CGS 101
Tampa, FL 33620

Phone: 813-974-4727