• Participate in Black History Month at UMass

Black History Month at UMass

Black History Month at UMass

The 2024 theme of Black History Month is "African Americans and the Arts" spanning the many impacts Black Americans have had on visual arts, music, cultural movements, and more. 

UMass Amherst celebrates it's rich legacy of African Americans in the arts, having been a home to musical legends such as Fred Tillis, founder the Afro-American Music and Jazz Studies program, Archie Shepp, Max Roach, and other giants of Jazz. In Dance, students have had the opportunity to work with artists such as Camille A. Brown, Robert Battle, Ronald K. Brown, and Bill T. Jones and others. 

These are just a handful of the historic contributions of our campus community to the arts, and this vital creative work continues here every day.

Please explore the events, histories, and resources below as we celebrate Black History Month to learn about and pay tribute to these incredible people.

Black Creativity Shapes Art and Culture at UMass Amherst

Robust activism in the 1960s and 1970s signaled the organization of festivals, performances, and academic programming; brought prominent Black artists, musicians, and educators to campus; and saw the appointment of the university's first Black chancellor, whose priorities and efforts laid the groundwork for current arts programming at UMass Amherst.

Black Presence in the Arts at UMass Amherst

A look back at the storied history of Black creativity at UMass Amherst that generated festivals, performances, and academics; brought prominent Black artists, musicians, and educators to campus; and saw the appointment of the university’s first Black chancellor, whose priorities laid the groundwork for current arts programming.

A History of Progress Through Activism

The legacy of actions for social justice and progress has been an integral part of our campus culture. Learn about the history of student and faculty driven activism and achievements for Black representation at UMass Amherst throughout the years.

Events Celebrating Black History and Culture

See the upcoming events on campus that celebrate Black History and culture run by student organizations, cultural centers, colleges, and more. Upcoming events include poetry nights, musical performances, dinners, and lectures.

Exterior of the new africa house

Campus Centers and Resources

Our campus cultural centers, student organizations, and, networks, and educational hubs provide avenues to support the wellbeing, education, and experiences of our Black student, staff, and faculty. See a list of these resources as well as a timeline of our cultural centers.

Dr Bracey and Sonia Sanchez at a book signing

UMass Black Presence Project

The UMass Black Presence website 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, we've captured these stories to provide an authentic and in-depth understanding of these lived experiences.