Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture

Black History Month

The roots of Black History Month go back to 1926 when noted historian, Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950), the son of former slaves, launched the first observance of Negro History Week in February of that year. Dr. Woodson dedicated his life to documenting and preserving Black history and culture and is often called the “father of black history.” In 1915, he created the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (, and founded the Journal of Negro History soon after. What began as Negro History Week in 1926 was first celebrated as Black History Month in 1970 at the urging of students at Kent State University.  

In recognition of 2021's Black History Month theme, The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity, we want to feature photos of YOUR family on our social media and email newsletters, alongside your words for how they have impacted and shaped you. Family can be biological or adopted, or even those we have claimed as our family (like a play cousin). Your photo can be a picture of your family as a whole, or of a single person, as long as they are important to you. 

We encourage undergraduate students, graduate/professional students, staff, and faculty to all participate, and allow us to amplify the strength of the Black family in ALL its forms.

Feel free to submit your photos to add to our collective community story HERE!

Black Family Submissions


Black History Month at Duke University 2021

Monday, Feb. 1, 6:30 p.m. Duke School of Medicine Black History Month Celebration, Duke Student National Medical Assoc.

Wednesday, Feb. 3, 6:30 p.m. Pass the Mic, Center for Multicultural Affairs

Friday, Feb. 5, 12 p.m. In Conversation: Black Theatre Matters, Duke Arts, African and African American Studies, and Duke Performances

Tuesday, Feb. 9, All Day, Virtual CAPS Workshop- Black Women in Solidarity, Counseling & Psychological Services

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 7 p.m, Mental Health and PTSD in the Black Community, Duke School of Medicine, Duke Student National Medical Assoc.

Thursday, Feb. 11, 12 p.m, Racial Blackness Beyond Interpersonal Definitions and Perceptions, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Neurobiology, School of Medicine 

Thursday, Feb. 11, Black Love Movie Night, Black Graduate & Professional Student Association

Monday, Feb. 15, 4 p.m, Virtual BIPOC Koru Meditation Class, Duke Student Wellness

Wednesday, Feb. 17, Black History Month Dinner at The Marketplace, Duke Dining

Friday, Feb. 19, 12 p.m, In Conversation: Telvin Wallace, DukeArts, Duke Performances

Friday, Feb. 19, 7 p.m. Duke School of Medicine Black History Month Celebration, Duke Student National Medical Assoc.

Saturday, Feb. 20, 7 p.m. Duke School of Medicine Black History Month Celebration, Duke Student National Medical Assoc.

Wednesday, Feb 24, 7 p.m. Black History Month Trivia, Nicholas School Black and Latinx Club

Thursday, Feb. 25, 7 p.m. Black History Month Trivia, Center for Multicultural Affairs and Phi Beta Sigma

Throwdown Thursday, Black Graduate & Professional Student Association

More information on each event forthcoming.


View printable PDF of the 2021 calendar here.