Black History Month


Highlighting Oregon’s Black Leadership Gains During Black History Month 2020
by Dr. Yvette Alex-Assensoh, Vice President for the Division of Equity and Inclusion

2020 is a pivotal year. Not only are we gearing up for the November General Election, but this year marks the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. As a result, there is a particularly bright spotlight on the issue of leadership. During the month of February, that spotlight specifically turns to Black leadership. Read more...

2020 Black History Month Events 


Black History Month, or National African American History Month, occurs every February. It celebrates the achievements by black Americans and recognizes the central role of African Americans in the U.S.

Black History Month originated as Negro History Week. It was conceived by historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), the organization he founded. Woodson and the ASNLH hoped to raise awareness of African American contributions to civilization. They began visualizing the idea in 1925 and the first celebration was in February 1926, a week that had the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. They were met with overwhelming positive response. By the mid-20th century, many city mayors across the U.S. issued proclamations celebrating the week.

In 1976, the celebration was expanded to a month. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Since then each American president has issued African American History Month proclamations. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.

The original association that created Negro History Week, now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), continues to promote the study of Black history all year.

The University of Oregon celebrates Black History Month each year with a wide variety of events that celebrate, honor and highlight the work and culture of black Americans.


2019 Black History Month Poster

Black History Events 2019

  • Soul Themed Karaoke Night
  • Black Mental Health on College Campuses
  • Erica Edwards, Black Feminist Studies Speaker Series
  • Douglas Day 2019
  • "The Cradle of Hope: African Americas, Haitian Sovereignty, and the Birth of Black Internationalism" with Leslie Alexander
  • 2019 Freedom Fund Dinner
  • Peacejam Northwest with Leymah Gbowee
  • Black Excellence Gala
  • "Affirmative Action Chronicles: From the Era of Colorblindness to White Nationalism" with Cheryl Harris
  • "Why Aren't There More Black People in Oregon?: A Hidden History" with Walidah Imarisha
  • Black History Month Banquet

2018 Black History Month Poster

Black History Events 2018

  • Claude Steele "The Science of Diverse Community.
  • Talk and Reception with Sam Bailey of "Brown Girls"
  • Pioneering a Living Legacy: Shaping Our Vision for Diversity and Inclusion in the Labor Movement
  • Black History Month Banquet
  • Derrick Bell Lecture: jonathan a. powell - "Looking Up From the Bottom of the Well"
  • Andre Djiffack: "Teaching in Mongo Beti"
  • Marshall (Thurgood Marshall Film)
  • Freedom Fund Dinner: NAACP
  • Black Excellence Gala: Black Student Union
  • Bill Fletcher: "Race and Labor: Building a More Just Economy
  • Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa: "Scenes from One Wall a Web"
  • "Don't Touch My Hair" Opening Reception and Exhibit
  • Talking Black in America