Black Solidarity Day

Image from the 1971 UMass Amherst Yearbook

Black Solidarity Day is a memorial day, created in 1969 by Panamanian-born activist, historian, playwright, Carlos E. Russell. It was inspired by the fictional play “Day of Absence” by Douglas Turner Ward. It is annually observed the day before Election Day in November, the first Monday of the month. Its purpose is for African diasporic people to exercise a 24- hour moratorium from shopping or participating in other commercial activity such as using the transit system. The Pan-African ideal of the observance is to highlight racial inequality and the gap between the wealthiest of one of the most powerful nations in the world and those living in poverty.

In the early years of its observance, Black Solidarity Day was a means of unifying many of the New York City Communities to show their economic power, with school closings and cultural events. It is still celebrated in pockets amongst African American and Caribbean neighborhoods. Part of its purpose is to show that the spending power of communities of color has an impact on the economy.

It is recognized and observed in higher education.

Via Wikipedia

Yearbook caption: November 2nd has been designated Black Solidarity Day by a national committee of black leaders repre-senting a broad spectrum of social, civic, religious, and political organizations active in the black community. Black Solidarity Day is conceived as a national day of unity and awareness among black people in the United States and is not related to the program or ideology of any single organization. The purpose of Black Solidarity Day is both symbolic and practical. The black community needs a day on which it can demonstrate its essential unity of purpose, stage programs celebrating its history and culture, and undertake serious internal discussions of its priorities and goals. It's a day we can honor our heroes and re- member our martyrs. The observance of this day takes place in twenty-one cities in the nation as well as on the campuses of predominantly black colleges and universities.

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