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No matter who you are, the past year has been one of critical change, challenge, and reevaluation as we all have had to contend with the stress and strife of a global pandemic, toxic political climate, enduring racism, and yes, continuing to manage our day-to-day lives.

Blog Author:
Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture

media:document:9a7909ff-cbb9-4c6f-a535-f90dc5239466 As another Black History Month has come and gone, we thought we’d share just a little more with you so that you may continue to learn more about Black history Beyond February.  We hope that you had a chance to attend at least some of the events listed on the Black History Month calendar we shared at the start of the month (and will look forward to your submissions for next year).

Blog Author:
Zoila Airall, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs for Campus Life

Diversity and Inclusion are values critical to Duke University. We are a community of students, faculty and staff of different demographic backgrounds, including race, ethnicity, income level, gender, sexual orientation, and religion.  As educators we understand the importance of preparing our students to become members of a global citizenry whose workforce becomes more interconnected and interdependent with each new generation.  In Student Affairs, one of our four strategic goals is to provide education in cultural competency so that students gain a consciousness, information and knowledge about world-views and perspectives different from their own.  The opportunity to develop what many refer to as cultural fluency enables students to communicate, interact and engage effectively with people different from themselves.

Trinity College Student of the Year
Yuridia Ramirez

Nicholas School of the Environment Student of the Year
Diego Calderon-Arrieta

School of Nursing Student of the Year
Joyell Arscott

Medical School Student of the Year
Samara Jinks

Law School Student of the Year
Christine Umeh

Sanford School of Public Policy Student of the Year
Bahari J. Harris

Graduate School Student of the Year
John Bechtold

Fuqua Business School Student of the Year
Nicole Melwood

Fuqua Business School Student of the Year
Reginald Benbow

Divinity School Student of the Year
Mycal Brickhouse

Pratt School of Engineering Student of the Year
Ugonna Ohiri

Graduate Student Organization of the Year
Black Law Students Association

Blog Author:
Christy McDaniel, Class of 2016

Dear [I haven’t settled on a name yet sooooo…], 

My real hope is that the world changes for you, but if it doesn’t, I hope I can teach you how to cope.

I hope you love yourself

You do not have to look like Beyoncé, get accepted into all of the Ivy Leagues, or be a CEO by the age of 12 to be excellent in your Blackness. You can do all of these things, but you will be exquisite and worthy of love no matter what. In a world that tries to tell you that every facet of who you are does not measure up, I hope you have a radical self-love.

I hope you know you can be and do whatever you want to do

Blog Author:
Oyeyemi Kolawole, Class of 2019

The Black Student Alliance Invitational (BSAI) is a four-day event on campus for prospective students that identify as Black. The weekend is filled with exciting events that enable the prospective students to experience many facets of the college experience. I was lucky enough to attend this event last March. Now that I work at the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, the center that sponsors the event, as well as am a co-chair of one of the planning committees, I cherish my memories of BSAI even more.

My first day at BSAI, I arrived at Duke and got to meet my host, whom I instantly had a connection with. I also met a girl who is now my best friend at Duke. The rest of the day evolved into a night of bowling, and the rest of the weekend turned into a time I’ll never forget.

Blog Author:
Alexandria Miller, History and African American Studies Major, class of 2017

As part of the Students of the Caribbean Association, we have been gearing up for our best Caribbean Awareness Week yet. This year, we’ll bring back returning treats like a traditional steel pan band and a Monday Motivations collaboration with the Center for Multicultural Affairs. This year will also bring about new traditions including a keynote speaker and will culminate with our annual Caribana festival. It goes without saying that Caribbean Awareness Week is, at least in my opinion, the most wonderful time of the year!

Blog Author:
By: Edom Tilahun, Class of 2019

Curls, Color and Politics.

In recent years, more and more Black women are wearing their natural hair unapologetically; and it’s beyond beautiful.  After decades of straightening, chemically altering and manipulating our curls to fit a beauty standard that wasn’t ours, we have started to love and appreciate our curls, kinks and coils. Due to the positivity of this movement, many black women have also embraced their looks and learned to love themselves and recognize their beauty. There is more representation of Black women in media, and there are more cosmetic companies that cater to Black women. Due to the magnitude of this movement, Black women’s hair and appearance has become a highly politicized aspect of our lives.

Blog Author:
Sean Palmer, Assistant Director

For any Black adult who has ever been to college, more than likely some of the pivotal snapshots of our college careers are linked to the events and programs that were held by members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC).  Whether it be one of their academic enrichment programs, neophyte presentations or infamous step shows and parties, we sometimes frame our college years around these unique African-American organizations.  Too often though, we take these organizations and their many contributions for granted, seeing them as a prop to our collegiate experiences. But, what if we took the mundane seriously?  What if black constructions of brotherhood and sisterhood were actually works of art?  And, what if the traditions emanating from Black Greek letter organizations were also works of art too?