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Stony Brook Celebrates the African Diaspora–Special Events Scheduled for Black History Month

Black history month 2023

MSNBC Segment Producer and Stony Brook Alumnus Stephanie Brumsey to kick off month’s festivities as Keynote Speaker

Black history month 2023Stony Brook, NY, January 31, 2023 – Starting February 1, Stony Brook University will host  events to honor the experiences of the Pan-African community through educational and cultural activities reflecting the theme: Sankofa! Celebrating the African Diaspora. This month-long tribute is the latest in an annual Black History Month tradition coordinated by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Department of Africana Studies and the Black History Month Committee.

Recognizing the forcible displacement of African people throughout history, this year’s theme commemorates the legacy of the Black experience in the struggle for equality, inclusion and social justice. Our programs admire how the Black community has shaped and advanced society as we know it, and esteem the various cultural identities represented within the community.

The Black History Month Opening Ceremony on February 1 will feature a speech by Stony Brook alumnus Stephanie Brumsey, MSNBC Segment Producer and Stony Brook “40 Under Forty” honoree. Rev. Brenda Ford, Protestant Chaplain for the Interfaith Center, will deliver the Invocation.

Although the month’s activities are intended to honor all members of the Black community, the theme is especially pertinent to those of African descent, whose ancestors were often robbed of their history when they were seized from their homes and native countries.

The concept of Sankofa originated in Ghana, West Africa, and it signifies that a person is not forbidden from going back to retrieve something they’ve forgotten. Now a common term throughout the Pan-African world, Sankofa promotes the idea that African people must go back to their roots in order to move forward.

From an alumni panel reflecting on Black student history and activism at Stony Brook to a spoken word contest amplifying the voices of current students of color, each event explores the significance of this theme.


Below is a list of the main events being held for Black History Month. For a comprehensive schedule, see the Black History Month Events Calendar.

  • Wednesday, February 1, 1 pm to 2:20 pm ET: Black History Month Opening Ceremony in the Student Activities Center (SAC) Ballroom A

    • This event features Keynote Speaker Stephanie Brumsey, MSNBC Segment Producer who graduated from Stony Brook in 2009 with a BA in journalism. It will include student performances, cultural food, student club information booths and more. Register here.

  • Saturday, February 4, 7 pm to 8 pm ET: Black History Month Reception in the Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery

    • This pre-performance reception will be held in conjunction with the gallery’s current exhibition, Revisiting 5+1, which honors the historic 1969 exhibition with a unique catalog of works created by the same Black artists, plus others. Attendees will enjoy cultural hors d’oeuvres crafted by Executive Chef Jim Kellenberger and Chef Linden Adams.

  • Saturday, February 4, 8 pm ET: Black History Month Performance at the Staller Center for the Arts

    • Renowned movement artist Lil Buck will put on a performance showcasing Memphis Jookin’, a freestyle-based dance involving intricate footwork for which he is an ambassador. Buy tickets here.

  • Tuesday, February 7, 5:30 pm to 7 pm ET: Alumni Panel of the 60s and 70s – Revisiting 5+1 in the West Campus Student Union Ballroom

    • Featuring SBU alumni from the ‘60s and ‘70s, this panel will explore the legacy of Black student history, student activism, and the formation of the Black Studies Program (now Africana Studies) at Stony Brook University. Guided tours of the exhibit will begin at 4:30 pm in the Zuccaire Gallery and refreshments will be served in the Union Ballroom starting at 5 pm. Register here.

  • Thursday, February 16, 7 pm ET: Black History Month Open Mic/Spoken Word Contest in the Union Ballroom

    • SBU students will showcase their skill and intellect by performing works that focus on celebrating the African diaspora – and what that means to them. First, second and third place winners will be invited to perform on iHeartRadio, and the first place winner will be asked to perform at the Black History Month Closing Program.

  • Friday, March 24, 12pm to 5pm ET: Celebrating Black History Month: An Afternoon at the Zuccaire Gallery and Long Island Museum

    • Atttendees can visit Stony Brook University’s Zuccaire Gallery to view the Revisiting 5+1 exhibition, Black Artists & Abstraction at Stony Brook in the ’60s and ’70s, before heading down the road to the Long Island Museum’s Art Museum to see Romare Bearden: Artist as Activist and Visionary and Creative Haven: Black Artists of Sag Harbor.  Educators and artists will be on hand in the galleries along with refreshments and music to round out the afternoon. Free admission and free transportation will be provided between both locations.

      • Shuttle Details: A free shuttle will run between the Zuccaire Gallery and the Long Island Museum from 12:30pm-5:00pm. Visitors are also welcome to drive themselves between each location.

  • Monday, February 27, 12pm ET: Black History Month Closing Program in the Union Ballroom

    • This culminating event will highlight the month and include a guest speaker, student performances, and a time of community fellowship. Special awards and acknowledgements will be given. Lunch will be provided and attendees will discuss ways to continue celebrating Black History year-round.

Media Contact: Joan Behan-Duncan, Stony Brook Media Relations, 631 901-4005

About Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University — New York’s flagship university and No. 1 public university — is going far beyond the expectations of today’s public universities. It is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. With nearly 26,000 students, more than 2,800 faculty members, more than 200,000 alumni, a premier academic health center and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs, Stony Brook is a research-intensive distinguished center of innovation dedicated to addressing the world’s biggest challenges. The university embraces its mission to provide comprehensive undergraduate, graduate and professional education of the highest quality, and is ranked among the top 35 public universities by Forbes and one of the top 100 universities in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges listing. Fostering a commitment to academic research and intellectual endeavors, Stony Brook’s membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places it among the top 65 research institutions in North America. The university’s distinguished faculty have earned esteemed awards such as the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. Stony Brook has the responsibility of co-managing Brookhaven National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy — one of only eight universities with a role in running a national laboratory. Providing economic growth for neighboring communities and the wider geographic region, the university totals an impressive $7.23 billion in increased economic output on Long Island. Follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter(@stonybrooku)

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