Trotter Multicultural Center

Trotter Multicultural Center's Mission

As a national leader in promoting an inclusive campus climate, the Trotter Multicultural Center serves as a campus facilitator, convener, and coordinator of intercultural engagement and inclusive leadership education initiatives for University of Michigan students.

Trotter Multicultural Center's Vision

The Trotter Multicultural Center serves as an iconic and programmatic symbol for all students, as an open and inclusive facility that fosters intercultural engagement and strengthens connections between and among communities, as a supportive home and environment to those committed to social justice and diversity, and as a space that celebrates the tradition and history of the Trotter Multicultural Center and the activism of students.

History of the Trotter Multicultural Center

The Trotter Multicultural Center, as it is known today, began as Trotter House, a Black Student Cultural Center. African American students united under the Black Action Movement (BAM), to help students who experienced obstacles within their educational process. Trotter House was birthed out of this movement, founded at a rambling old house on the corner of South and East University Street, and named in honor of William Monroe Trotter (1872-1934). Trotter House opened for operation on November 15, 1971 and offered workshops for art students led by African American artists; sociology and psychology classes; orientation meetings for incoming students; academic and career counseling; a chess clinic; parties and dances; and a heavily attended weekly luncheon.

The Trotter Multicultural Center was established on Washtenaw Avenue in 1972 after the Trotter House was damaged by a fire.

The Trotter Multicultural Center continued to grow, and in 1981, expanded its focus to become a multicultural student center. Today, the Trotter Multicultural Center works to enhance multicultural awareness across campus and a place where U–M students, faculty, staff, and alumni can hold meetings and events.

From LSA Magazine, Spring 2013: Trotter House Origins: How the battle for a bricks-and-mortar structure was really about moving racial integration from rhetoric to reality

The Trotter Multicultural Center opened to its new location on State Street on April 11, 2019.

    Trotter Multicultural Center History Project Team 

    Along with ongoing efforts to honor and celebrate the history of the Trotter Multicultural Center, the History Project Team is developing a multi-modal narrative of the history of the Trotter Multicultural Center and William Monroe Trotter.  

    • Elizabeth James, Program Associate, Department for Afroamerican and African Studies, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
    • Charles Ransom, Multicultural Studies Librarian, University Library
    • Edras Rodriguez-Torres, International Studies Librarian, University Library
    • Stephen Ward, Director, Semester in Detroit; Associate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies and Associate Professor in the Residential College, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts





    Timeline of William Monroe Trotter's Life

    Over the years, curiosity about the man for whom the William Monroe Trotter Multicultural Center takes its name, peaked among faculty, staff, and students. Indeed, those with some sense of the Center’s history—those, in fact, who knew that the Trotter Multicultural Center emerged in the aftermath of the black student protest movement of the 1970s—and those with little-to-no knowledge of any of this social movement history, all began to wonder about William Monroe Trotter himself.