An end to racial disparities in education, HIV, cardiovascular disease and labor opportunities can be more than a dream. Through our rigorous research, excellence in teaching and community engagement, the African American Studies Department (AASD) at the University of Maryland continues to develop the social understanding, future leaders and stronger communities to make these dreams a reality. Scholarly examination of black communities helps illuminate the parallels, contradictions and strengths evident in all communities.  Thus, while the specific subject matter of the program concerns black communities in the U.S., Africa and the African Diaspora, the essential value of the program extends to the scientific study of other cultures and communities around the world.