Minorities with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are at high risk of poor disease outcomes and may face challenges in effectively self-managing multiple health problems. The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) is an evidence-based intervention that improves the health of people with chronic illnesses. Although the CDSMP is offered by organizations throughout the United States and many countries around the world, it has not been tested among SLE patients. We pilot tested the benefits of the CDSMP in low-income African American patients with SLE. CDSMP workshops were delivered to 49 African American women with SLE who received medical care at a public lupus clinic in Atlanta, Georgia, US. We compared pre-post CDSMP changes (from baseline to 4 months after the start of the intervention) in health status, self-efficacy and self-management behaviors using self-reported measures. Additionally, we assessed health care utilization changes using electronic administrative records in the 6-month periods before and after the intervention. We observed significant improvements post-intervention in the SF-36 physical health component summary (mean change = 2.4, p = 0.032); self-efficacy (mean change = 0.5, p = 0.035); and several self-management behaviors: cognitive symptoms management (mean change = 0.3, p = 0.036); communication with physicians (mean change = 0.4, p = 0.01); and treatment adherence (mean change = 0.4, p = 0.01). The median number of outpatient visits decreased from 3 to 1 (p < .0001). The CDSMP is a promising intervention for low-income African Americans with SLE. It is an inexpensive program with growing availability around the world that should be further evaluated as a resource to improve patient-centered outcomes and decrease health service utilization among SLE patients.