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Black Physicists collection

 Collection — Box: 1-3, OS 1
Identifier: 0000-0000-0000-0065


  • Creation: 1989-2005


Rights statement

All materials in this collection are either protected by copyright or are the property of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc., and/or the copyright holder as appropriate. For more information, please contact

Historical note

This collection documents two organizations, the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) and the National Conference of Black Physics Students. The National Society of Black Physicists was established in 1977 at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD out of a need to address many of the important issues of concern for African-American physicists. The first elected leaders of the organization were designated as Co-Chairs, and they were Dr. Walter Massey, who receded to become President of Morehouse College, and Dr. James Davenport, Chair of the Department of Physics at Virginia State University.

Today, the National Society of Black Physicists is the largest and most recognizable organization devoted to the African-American physics community. Among its many activities, NSBP has named science ambassadors to give lectures to elementary, middle, high school, and university students, which encourages them to pursue careers in science, engineering, and mathematics with a special emphasis on physics. NSBP annually awards undergraduate scholarships that are renewable for up to four years including the Outstanding Graduate Student Dissertation Award. Physicists are annually inducted into the NSBP Society of Fellows for outstanding contributions to NSBP, physics research, and physics education. The NSBP has also given out other various awards to African-American physicists for their contributions to the field.

The annual NSBP Conference is the single largest event for the entire membership of NSBP. The Conference provides a mechanism for African-American physicists to meet at least once each year to discuss physics, exchange insights on the overall state of the discipline, as well as develop a network for student support and encouragement. Furthermore, the meeting provides a unique opportunity to introduce students to a homogeneously, supportive, professional society. The membership is keenly aware that the number of working African-American physicists is small. In fact, the pool of students studying physics is not as large as the NSBP prefers. This lack of membership has sparked the development of an informal network at the annual Conference, whereby graduate and undergraduate students are provided academic and informational support and encouragement. Previously, the Conference had been held at a diverse set of institutions that included several Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Under years of able leadership, the National Conference of Black Physics Students has developed into a truly viable organization with a mission that strongly supports our country's leadership role in science and technology. The Conference was established in 1986 by several black physics graduate students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. They decided to address the issue of the continuing paucity and isolation of African Americans in the field of physics by organizing a Conference for black graduate and undergraduate physics students. The goals of the Conference are to develop a network within the black physics community; to make black students in physics, particularly at the graduate level, aware of academic and professional opportunities; and to bring important issues of concerns in the field to the attention of these students.


2 Linear feet

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged into four series: 1. National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP); 2. National Confernece of Black Physics Students (NCBPS); 3. Black Physicists; and 4. Printed and Published.

Black Physicists collection, 1989-2005
Finding aid prepared by Stacy Jones, 2006 March.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc. Repository


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