The Africana Collection was created in late 1995/early 1996 thanks to the efforts of the African American Faculty and Staff Association and was formally recognized in October 1997. The word Africana was coined in 1909 by W.E.B. Du Bois, a premier African American scholar who dreamed of editing an Encyclopedia Africana, a comprehensive collection of information about black history and culture in Africa, the Americas, Europe, and the Caribbean. Africana is a term that refers to items such as books, documents, or artifacts relating to African history and culture.
The Africana Collection functions both as a library resource center and a community center, with the goals of scholarship, leadership, and community responsibility about and for African Americans. It supports and sponsors programs and scholarship specific to Africana life, history, and culture.