Dear Stanford community,

Black History Month is a time to celebrate the many accomplishments of African Americans and recognize their central role in U.S. history, as well as a time to shine a light on the story of the larger Black diaspora. Since 1976, every American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme. This year’s theme, “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity,” explores the African diaspora and the spread of Black families across the United States.

Campus Conversation

This year’s Black History Month comes as our nation, and our university, are confronting urgent issues of racial justice. We invite you to join us on Monday, February 22, when we’ll be holding a Campus Conversation via livestream. Professor Claude Steele and Stanford trustee and alumnus Charles Young will join us with an update on the university’s racial justice initiatives, which include the Community Board on Public Safety and the Black Community Council.

We’ll also hear about the activities of the Academic Framework Task Force, which is exploring the best ways to support studies of Race and Ethnicity at Stanford, including the question of departmentalizing the African and African American Studies program. And there will be updates on the Provostial IDEAL Fellows search and the Impacts of Race in America faculty cluster hires.

Ways to participate

In a time when racial injustices still exist across our society — from health care and education to housing and the criminal justice system — it is critical that we increase our knowledge of the Black diaspora. By delving deeper into the history, culture and achievements of the Black community, we can increase our understanding of this country’s past and current issues around race.

We urge you to take part in the activities surrounding Black History Month, both through Stanford and those offered more broadly. There are a number of virtual events, exhibitions, and lectures planned at Stanford. For example, the Black Community Services Center has planned Black Liberation Month at Stanford: Black Joy as Resistance: Lemons into Lemonade. The center is offering a monthlong calendar of events featuring conversations, roundtables, film screenings and more hosted by student organizations and departments across campus. In addition, several stories will be published in Stanford Report and Stanford Today that highlight the contributions and achievements of Stanford’s Black community.

At Stanford we strive to create an inclusive, accessible, diverse and equitable university for all our community members. With great urgency and a strong commitment, we will continue our work to eliminate anti-Black racism that is still present in our society.


Marc Tessier-Lavigne, President

Persis Drell, Provost