The Drake Center’s goal is to provide transformative experiences for students, faculty and the larger community through academics, research, guest lectures, and community-based programs. This powerful combination of intellectual rigor and an activist determination is creating new possibilities for justice and equity in Chicago, across the country and around the world.


Students can pursue undergraduate interdisciplinary coursework of the issues facing African and African American communities. Popular courses include:

  • African American Literature
  • Race in American Politics
  • American Civil Rights
  • African Culture and History
  • The African American Man
  • The African American Woman

Students can apply to be Drake Fellows and are eligible for community service grants to further their studies. In addition, Roosevelt students can apply for paid positions as mentors for the Drake Center's Black Male Leadership Academy.


Affiliated Faculty of the Drake Center compete for prestigious Drake Faculty Research Fellowships. The Drake Faculty Research Fellowships are awarded to faculty whose research can lead to improvement of the quality of life in urban communities.


Members of the larger community can connect with the Drake Center's work by subscribing to the Drake Center's Quarterly Newsletter, applying to become a member of the Drake Center Advisory Board and providing internships and mentoring for Drake Center students.

Members of Roosevelt's internal and external community gather together for the Drake Center's many special events. Lectures, panel discussions, film screenings and conferences feature activists from across the country to share insights into the challenges of addressing discrimination in contemporary society.

These public events have featured, among many others:

  • Ta-Nehisi Coates, national correspondent for The Atlantic
  • Kimberly Foxx, the first African American woman to lead the Cook County State's Attorney's Office
  • Paul King, civil rights pioneer and owner of the largest African American construction company in Illinois
  • Members of the Mississippi Freedom Summer Movement