Black History Month Happenings at Vassar

Vassar to celebrate Black History Month with multifaceted series of events and activities
Collage of three people with the "Black History Month" logo.


Vassar College will celebrate Black History Month with a series of events and activities, starting with a pair of kickoff events.

February 1

The Jeh Vincent Johnson ALANA Cultural Center will host a 10:00 a.m. gathering in the Garden to Celebrate Back Lives. Later that day, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., ALANA will host a kickoff event in the Villard Room titled “Celebrating Blackness at Vassar.” The celebration will include lively performances and speeches from students, alums, faculty, administrators, and local community members. Food and beverages will be served, and the event will include stations featuring a book display curated by ALANA student leaders highlighting Black authors, significant Black figures at Vassar, and more. The event is open to all. RSVP to confirm your attendance.

February 2

UJIMA and Engaged Pluralism will host “Poetry Playground: Write to Celebrate” from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. in the Jeh Vincent Johnson ALANA Cultural Center. Ulster County Poet Laureate Kate Hymes will lead the workshop. Please RSVP.

February 8

New York University Professor of History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Michael Gomez will deliver a lecture, “West Africa in Tumultuous Times: Light from Its Golden Age.” The lecture will be held in Taylor 102 at 5:30 p.m.

February 13

The ALANA Center and the African Students’ Union will host an African Cuisine Cooking Demo at Pratt House from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. All are welcome. Please RSVP to confirm your attendance.

February 15

Four students will present their original research on the legacy at Vassar College of Black theologian the Reverend Howard Thurman. The event will be held in the Villard Room from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. Rev. Thurman was a mentor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, and Pauli Murray. Between 1928 and 1952, he delivered more than a dozen sermons at the College, and his daughter, Olive Thurman ’48, was one of the first Black students to graduate from Vassar. The students, Croix Horsley ’26, Jarod Hudson ’26, Katie Varon ’24, and Maya Winter ’26, developed their research in a fall intensive course taught by Professor of Religion Jonathon Kahn.

Throughout the month, members of the Vassar community can embark on a musical journey by listening to the Black History Month Playlist 2024. Thoughtfully curated by Sharon Parkinson, Director of Multicultural and Affinity Engagement in Vassar’s Office of Advancement, the songs in the playlist are a testament to the variety and beauty of Black experiences. This collection carries the stories and dreams of musical artists from throughout the world.

In addition, the Thompson Library Black Authors Black History Month Display features two newly published books by alum authors, Finding La Negrita by Natasha Gordon-Chipembere ’92 and Women of the Post by Joshunda Sanders ’00.

Starting February 3 and continuing through June 2, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center will present an exhibit featuring the work of six artists of color. The works, dating from the 1920s to the 21st century, are in mediums that include photography, painting, prints, and collage. They represent a small selection of over 100 works by Black artists that have recently been added to the collection.

January 31, 2024
Black History