This February, Stony Brook University will honor the experiences of the Pan-African community with its annual Black History Month (BHM) celebration, featuring a variety of educational and cultural activities reflecting the theme: Sankofa! Celebrating the African Diaspora.
The Black History Month program seeks to increase awareness about the historical legacy of the African American/Black experience in the struggle for equality, inclusion, social change and social justice. The concept of Sankofa has its origin in Ghana, West Africa. When translated, it means that “it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot.” Sankofa is used throughout the Pan-African world to promote the idea that African people must go back to their roots in order to move forward. The theme was created to re-ignite awareness, appreciation, passion and commitment to Black History Month for all people, but especially those whose ancestors are from the African Diaspora.
Black History Month is coordinated by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Department of Africana Studies and the Black History Month Committee. For the most up-to-date information on events, visit the BHM website.
Black History Month Opening Program
Wednesday, February 1
1-2:20 pm (Campus Life Time)
SAC Ballroom A
Stony Brook alumnus Stephanie Brumsey ’09, an award-winning segment producer for MSNBC, is the keynote speaker for the BHM Opening Program. She’s covered numerous news topics including the January 6 insurrection, the presidential campaigns of 2020 and 2016, the inaugural Women’s March and Barack Obama’s presidency. She has produced national and international segments with a wide array of guests including President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, former president Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, President of Brazil Michel Temer and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, to name a few.
In 2017, Brumsey and her team were awarded the Reuters Journalist of the Year Award for Innovation in Storytelling. The following year, she received the 2018 Front Page Award for Online Video in recognition of a series of videos on personal finance issues, including “All the Things You Didn’t Learn in School.” She also has served as vice president of special events for the Newswomen’s Club of New York.
Brumsey earned her BA in journalism from Stony Brook, is a 40 Under Forty honoree, and has earned several awards. During her undergraduate years, she was an active student leader in many areas, including the Journalism Student Advisory Board, Stony Brook Athletic Bands and the Academic Judiciary Committee. She also served as a resident assistant, a member of the 2008 Homecoming Court and a contributor to the Stony Brook Statesman and SBU TV.
The opening program is free; attendees are asked to please register for the event on SB Engaged.
Alumni Panel of the 60’s and 70’s: Revisiting 5+1
Tuesday, February 7
Stony Brook Union Ballroom
The Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery presents an alumni panel featuring Stony Brook University alumni from the 1960s and 1970s that 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. This program is organized in collaboration with the Department of Africana Studies, the Black History Month Planning Committee and the Alumni Association.
The event is presented in connection with the Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery exhibition Revisiting 5+1, which showcases the story of 5+1, a historical exhibition of Black artists working in abstraction that took place at Stony Brook University in 1969 during the first semester of courses in the Black Studies Program. Revisiting 5+1 is on view through March 31 at the Zuccaire Gallery, located on the first floor of the Staller Center for the Arts. Admission is free; register online.
The Zuccaire Gallery will be open before and after the panel, from noon to 8 p.m. A guided tour of Revisiting 5+1 will be offered at 4:30 p.m., focusing on the history of 5+1 and student activism on Stony Brook’s campus in the late 1960s. Refreshments will be offered in the Union Ballroom beginning at 5 pm.
Friday, February 10
1 p.m. on Zoom
A discussion featuring Revisiting 5+1 artists Howardena Pindell and Adger Cowans, in conversation with the exhibition co-curators and a Brooklyn Rail host. Click here to Register.
Spoken Word/Open Mic Night
Thursday, February 16
Stony Brook Union Ballroom
The annual Black History Month Spoken Word/Open Mic Night is an opportunity for Stony Brook students to showcase their gifts and intellect through spoken word and diverse modes of expression. Performers will present their work live, and first, second, and third prizes will be awarded. Winners will be invited to perform on WUSB 90.1 FM/107.3 FM, and the first place winner will perform virtually at the Black History Month Closing Program on February 27.
Students are encouraged to sign up and share their gifts and talents. Pieces should focus on this year’s Black History Month theme: Sankofa! Celebrating the African Diaspora, and what it means to you. Some ideas of context could be your identity/intersectionality; social justice; political views; and cultural, historical and/or socioeconomic issues. Performances must be respectful and under five minutes long. Only SBU students currently enrolled and in good academic standing are eligible to perform. Past winners are not eligible to compete, and past participants must perform a new work this year.
The registration deadline is February 7 at 5 pm. Register online.
Closing Ceremony and Awards Lunch
Monday, February 27
Stony Brook Union Ballroom
The annual Black History Month Closing Ceremony and Awards Lunch will reflect on ways to continue celebrating Black history throughout the entire year. Awards will be distributed to individuals and organizations for their contributions to Stony Brook University’s commitment to social change and social justice.
Other events related to Black History Month include dancer Lil Buck in “Memphis Jookin’: The Show” at the Staller Center on February 4. Discounted tickets are being offered to help celebrate Black History Month. Stony Brook University students can receive free tickets and RSVP on sbengaged.
The Zuccaire Gallery is hosting a Black History Month reception at 7 pm, prior to the Lil Buck performance. It will include hors d’oeuvres crafted by executive chef Jim Kellenberger and chef Linden Adams. It is organized in conjunction with the Revisiting 5+1 exhibit.
The Zuccaire Gallery is also presenting “Celebrating Black History Month: An Afternoon at the Zuccaire Gallery and Long Island Museum” on Saturday, February 18, from 12 pm to 5 pm, and Friday, March 24, from 12 pm to 5 pm. Each day will feature a viewing of the Revisiting 5+1 exhibit 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.”