The exhibit features the work of more than 150 artists and pieces created in the 20th and 21st centuries.
The works will range from small pieces to large ones and use mediums such as drawing, painting, printmaking, photography and sculpture.
"It is an exhibition that deals specifically with the African-American portrait by artists of color as well as artists who are not African-American, so it's a unique exhibition that brings together a lot of different artists who are looking at African-American portraits," Crisp Museum director and art instructor Peter Nguyen said.
The exhibit features both representational and conceptual artwork with the themes of the social, political and cultural aspects of African-Americans in visual culture and the world of fine arts.
Many of the pieces are self-portraits as well as portraits of other artists in the collection.
The exhibit is free, and Nguyen said that this exhibit is at Southeast Missouri State University to teach students.
"Because we are the university museum, it partly has to do with educational purposes and how the exhibition will help students learn more about the artworks that are out there -- and also the art department since we are a teaching museum," Nguyen said.
Crisp Museum is a space for collections and exhibits that come to the university on a monthly basis or longer for other exhibits of regional or national importance. Crisp Museum is also home to a permanent collection of art and artifacts.
To complement the exhibit Nguyen chose to display the work of African-American artist Malcom McCrae in the Transition Spaces at the River Campus, which is the area adjacent to Crisp Museum that highlights local artists and their work.
There will be a reception from 4-8 p.m. on Sept. 7 for both exhibits in Crisp Museum.
McCrae will speak at the event at 5 p.m.
The collection will be displayed until Oct. 31.
Crisp Museum is closed on Mondays. It is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on the first Friday of each month from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.