In 1987, ABCC founder and Executive Director, Dr. Fred Lee Hord, as the first director of the Center for Black Culture and Research at West Virginia University, introduced the idea of a new organization to promote networking among Centers at an American Council for Education conference in Washington, D.C. Moving to Knox College, he gained administrative acceptance to host an inaugural national conference. That 1989 conference (at Knox College) was followed by biennial and then annual events at The Ohio State University, Northeastern University, Kent State University, Knox College, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, University of Maryland at College Park, West Virginia University, Vanderbilt University, Cleveland State University, University of Illinois at Urbana, Miami University- Ohio, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Indiana University-Bloomington, the University of Kentucky, North Carolina State University, University of Missouri, Rutgers University, Cleveland State University, University of Maryland, Wright State University and Purdue University.
Knox College has supported the ABCC in a number of ways: becoming national headquarters in 1994, hosting the fifth anniversary conference in 1995, providing staff support with an Executive Assistant, Terry L. Duffy, work-study students, and assisting with various in-kind contributions. In addition, Knox produces the biannual newsletter, Nommo, the ABCC brochure, the ABCC Kuumba Programming Series booklet, and renovated a suite of offices which the ABCC shares with Knox College's Black Studies and Gender and Women's Study Programs. The ABCC National Headquarters was located at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, from 2005-2008; the following year, the organization had co-national sites at NCSU and Knox. Since July 1, 2009, Knox has served as the only headquarters.
The ABCC is a growing organization with more than seven hundred colleges and universities that are members or affiliates in all fifty states, and in the Caribbean and West Africa, increasingly involving historically and predominantly Black colleges and universities, museums, community centers, as well as Multicultural Centers and Offices. ABCC benefits to members have expanded from networking, the newsletter and national conference discounts to include its own Speakers Bureau and Traveling Art Exhibits, as well as discount arrangements with book and journal publishers, film/video/CD Rom companies, and on-line agencies. In addition, Centers have the option of applying for formal accreditation from the organization. It co-published the first book on Centers, “Black Culture Centers: Politics of Survival And Identity,” which can be purchased through Third World Press.