In 1895, Atlanta University inaugurated a series of investigations into the condition of African Americans, which resulted in annual conferences at the University and the publication of a series of monographs based on data collected. Under the leadership of W. E. B. DuBois, Atlanta University became one of the first institutions in the South to engage in scientific sociological research. Scholars and teachers in colleges and universities across the nation are still using the Atlanta University conference monographs and other publications by W. E. B. DuBois. The series of conferences and annual reports referred to as the Atlanta University Publications received great attention from scholars throughout the nation and provided a foundation for constructive efforts in social betterment for African Americans.
To recreate this tradition, Clark Atlanta University CAU, in partnership with the Andrew Mellon Foundation has instituted a research program that seeks to increase research in the social sciences. The goal of the program is to ensure that social science research on African American issues done by W. E. B. DuBois during the first half of the 20th century is continued in the 21st century. This Mellon funded project serves as the basis for establishment of the DuBois Institute.
In establishing the DuBois Institute, CAU is taking a bold step in its commitment to regain its historic and significant leadership role in the development of a research agenda on historical and contemporary issues relating to African Americans and people of African descent. The Institute will focus on generating relevant research, teaching and social change by strengthening faculty research, particularly in the social science departments. The Institute will address regional, national and international issues that impact African Americans.