Celebrating Black History Month
Read the message from Interim Dean Nate Whitaker to learn about events, campus resources, recommended reading, and more
February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate the many important contributions of African Americans and to evaluate our progress in improving equity on campus and beyond. Since 1976, every American president has endorsed a theme for Black History Month. This year’s theme is Black Resistance.
I encourage you to visit the UMass Black History Month web pages, which include a great series of events and resources in celebration of Black history and culture. For example,
On Thursday, February 16, 2023, 7:30 - 9:30 p.m., you can enjoy the amazing Bobby Broom Trio at Bowker Auditorium.
On February 23, March 30, April 27, 2023, at 6:00 p.m., enjoy a fantastic poetry series, Bright Moments Poetry Nights.
Also, check out the recently launched UMass Black Presence website, which serves as a living history of the experiences, contributions, and stories of Black students, alumni, faculty, and staff. Through oral history interviews and research on historical figures, this initiative has begun what will be an ongoing process of capturing stories to provide an authentic and in-depth understanding of lived experiences.
In addition to recognizing achievements, Black History Month also provides an opportunity to assess the university’s effectiveness in addressing racial injustice, and to identify ways that we can, and must, do better.
Towards this end, I invite you to join several important events:
On February 10, at 6:45 p.m. join the information session, “White Allies Against Racism: How to be a Co-Conspirator for Racial Justice.” Led by white students and faculty, this is the first of a series that will support UMass students, faculty, and staff with the tools to dismantle white supremacy.
On Friday, March 31, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., join a Symposium on Anti-Racist Community Engagement. This hybrid (online/in-person) event will feature panels and workshops led byauthors from a forthcoming book on Anti-Racist Community Engagement to be published by Campus Compact in Summer 2023, and members of the New England Equity and Engagement Consortium on civic learning outcomes grounded in racial equity.
There are many ways you can get involved in ensuring that our campus is respectful and inclusive for all. Visit the Office of Equity and Inclusion to learn about and join groups like: The Black Advisory Council, the Building Bridges Initiative, Campus Climate Improvement Grants, and the DEI Student Council, to name just a few.
The Office of Equity and Inclusion also invites you to subscribe to their newsletter for updates on Black History Month as well as other events and opportunities.
Finally, below are links to several additional campus resources relating I hope you will find useful.
College of Natural Sciences Resources:
- Black Faculty in STEM directory
- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
- Dr. Tracie Moniece Gibson Scholar Program
- First-Generation Pioneers: Biology RAP (Bio-Pioneers)
- Forsythe Grange Mentoring Program
- Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP)
- UMass Inclusive Excellence
- William Lee Science Impact Program (Lee SIP)
For university-level resources and activities visit the Office of Equity and Inclusion web site.
- Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
- Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
- How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi
- White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo
- Antisemitism in America by Leonard Dinnerstein
- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
- Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White by Frank Wu
- Why I No Longer Talk to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Loge
- Sitting Pretty: The View From My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body by Rebekah Taussig
- The Fire This Time by Jesmyn Ward
- We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation by Jeff Chang
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
- The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
- Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong
- Disability Visibility by Alice Wong
- Antisemitism. Here and Now by Deborah Lipstadt
- Antiracist Reading List by Ibram X Kendi via the New York Times - This list by Ibram X Kendi, one of theleading scholars in racism and founder of the Anti-Racist Research and Policy Center at American University and the BU Center for Antiracist Research covers topics related to race and biology, ethnicity, body, culture, bahavior, color, whiteness, blackness, spaces, gender, and sexuality.
- An Anti-Racist Reading List: 20 Highly Rated Nonfiction Books by Black Authors - 20 recent non-fiction books, memoirs, and histories on the topic of race, written by Black American authors. While by no means a comprehensive list, these books are a good place to start.
- Brené Brown with Ibram X. Kendi on How to Be an Antiracist (Unlocking Us)
- Whistling Vilvaldi (NPR)
- The Takeaway: Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Anti-Asian Violence Spikes Across the U.S. (WNYC Studios)
- Side Effects of White Women (Small Doses with Amanda Seales)
- The Humanity Archive
- Well Meaning White People (Smartest Person in the Room)
- A Decade on Watching Black People Die (Code Switch)
- Self Evident
- Kaepernick (Still Processing)
- White Lies (NPR)
- The 1619 Project by the New York Times
- Uncivil by Gimlet Media
- Pass the Mic by The Witness Podcast Radio
- Jewish Questions (Stroum Center for Jewish Studies)
- Seeing White by Scene On Radio
- I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown (Art of the Sermon)
- White Awake by Daniel Hill (FSP Chicago)
- Asian Americans (TV Series documentary)
- 13th (Ava DuVernay)
- How We Can Win (David Jones)
- 5 Tips for Being an Ally
I thank you for all you do to build a diverse and inclusive campus.
College of Natural Sciences