In the late 1960s, a College committee was created to expand Colby’s participation in this burgeoning field. This led to curriculum development, exchanges of visiting scholars, special lectures and other intercultural programs, and student exchanges with predominantly African-American institutions. Formerly called Black Studies, the program has maintained a special relationship with other College programs such as the American Studies Program, the Colby College Black History Month Celebration, the Office of Intercultural Affairs, and the Ralph J. Bunche Symposium, which sponsors events that explore the themes of diversity and human rights.

Students participating in African-American Studies usually major in English, American studies, Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, Government, or History. The history courses taken within the program may be applied to a field of concentration within the history major. A student with any major may take a variety of courses in African-American Studies. Those who wish may be assigned an adviser in the program as well as one in their major department.

The major in African-American and American Studies is built around a core of courses in history, literature, and the social sciences. The minor in African-American Studies draws upon a strong core of courses that include African-American Culture in the United States, African-American History, several music courses, and a wonderful range of courses in African-American literature.