Since its inception in 1975, Obsidian has evolved into a respected literary journal committed to publishing scholarly articles, fiction, poetry, and drama centered on the literatures of Africa and her Diaspora. Obsidian’s roster of established and newly established writers continues to be impressive. The journal is acknowledged by the National Endowment of the Arts as one of the premier journals dedicated to Africa and African Diaspora Literatures.

Obsidian was initially published as Obsidian: Black Literature in Review in 1975 at State University of New York (SUNY). Alvin Aubert was the founder and editor of the journal, which was one of the first publications in the field. Since its inception at SUNY, Obsidianhas been published and supported by several universities. In the late '70s and early '80s, it was published by Wayne State University in Detroit under that name Obsidian II. In 1985, Gerald Barrax brought Obsidian to North Carolina State University (NCSU). Afaa Weaver helped to transform the journal from Obsidian II to Obsidian III: Literature in the African Diaspora. Other editors emeritus include Doris Laryea, Joyce Pettis, and Thomas Lisk.  The current editor of the journal is Dr. Sheila Smith McKoy. With the publication of the Fall/Winter, 2006 issue, the journal has resumed its original name, celebrating over 30 years of continuous publication.

Obsidian continues to celebrate the rich literary and cultural heritage of Africa and her Diaspora by providing an international forum focused on art, literature, and prose.