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Division of Campus and Community Engagement

Division of Campus and Community Engagement

Celebrating Black History Month

Stories, news and events around campus that celebrate and explore Black history and culture
Black History Month badge over a photo of the UT Tower with flowers.

Every February, we honor and celebrate the history, experiences and accomplishments of African Americans on campus and across the nation. During this month of national reflection, we are spotlighting some upcoming campus events, new books, research and more that commemorate and explore Black history and culture.


Saturday, Feb. 10— Afrofuturism and the Law Symposium
The College of Education is hosting its biannual symposium titled “Afrofuturism and the Law,” which will explore Black culture, history and futuristic possibilities within the legal landscape. The symposium will be held at The School of Law from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Go here to register.

Thursday, Feb 29—Black History Month Cookout
In collaboration with several university partners, University Housing and Dining is hosting a campus-wide Black History Month Cookout event on Thursday, Feb. 29, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the San Jacinto Hall Multipurpose Room. The event is free and open to the public.

Save the Date! March 2-3—Texas Performing Arts Celebrates the History of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Join Texas Performing Arts as it celebrates the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater during its 65th Season! The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was the first company to perform in Bass Concert Hall when it opened in 1981. Now on its 2024 National Tour, the legendary dance company returns to Austin after more than a decade for two special and unique performances including new works, Ailey classics, and the timeless ballet Revelations. Go here for more information.



Precursor Cloteal Haines Honored with Presidential Citation Award
Cloteal Davis Haynes, the longtime President of the University’s Precursors, has been honored with UT’s Presidential Citation Award. Haynes entered UT in 1968, where she earned a B.A. in music education in 1972 and an M.P.A. from the LBJ School of Public Affairs in 1977. She has served as a planning supervisor with the City of Austin and is the CEO of Austin construction company Haynes-Eaglin-Waters, LLC.  Visit The Alcalde’s “The Way Back” web series to learn about Haynes and other Precursors who have made their mark on campus.

Precursor Rodney Griffin Receives President’s Lifetime Achievement Award
Rodney Griffin, the commissioner of Missouri City, was recently honored with the Fourth Annual President’s Lifetime Achievement Award at an awards ceremony held last December in Houston, Texas. Griffin is a proud member of The Precursors (B.S. Mathematics, ’70) who played on the all-Black chess team that desegregated Houston high school sports in 1962. Among his many accolades, he was an honored White House guest at the Fiftieth Civil Rights Summit, and he was named a Jesse H. Jones Scholar by the Houston Endowment. Read more.

College of Liberal Arts Professor Awarded 2023 Cokie Roberts Women’s History Fellowship
Ashley D. Farmer, associate professor of African and African diaspora studies and history, has been named a recipient of the 2023 Cokie Roberts Women’s History Fellowship from the National Archives Foundation. The fellowship is granted to support established historians, journalists, authors or graduate students whose work focuses on women’s history using the records held by the National Archives. Read more.

College of Liberal Arts Professors Awarded National Archives Awards Grant
In partnership with state historical records advisory boards and the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the National Archives has awarded a grant to College of Liberal Arts associate professors Ashley Farmer and Ashanté Reese for their research project “Commemorating Student Activism: Past, Present, and Future.” Read more.


Texas Law Spotlights Heman Marion Sweatt
This February, Texas Law is reaching into its archives to share stories of UT Black history and historically significant figures. Of these, none is more important than Heman Sweatt, who appeared at the Office of the Registrar of The University of Texas at Austin, seeking admission to the School of Law 78 years ago this month, on February 26, 1946. Read more. 

Hear Oral Histories Told by the Precursors
Visit the Contextualization and Commemoration Initiative’s (CCI) website to hear stories told by the first Black students who integrated the University in the 1950s. In addition to this collection of videos, you can learn more about the many CCI projects and initiatives that honor UT’s Black history, including the “We Are Texas” East Mall Project, the Sweatt v. Painter Art Installation and more.


The Hon. Harriet Murphy, 1929-2024   

Judge Harriet Mitchell Murphy, a civil rights pioneer and the first African American woman appointed to a permanent judgeship in Texas, passed away on January 17. She was a beloved Precursor (UT School of Law, ’69) who served on the bench in Austin for two decades. Go to this Texas Law website to read more about her life and work. Her memoir (published by the DCCE) is aptly titled “There All the Honor Lies.”


“Harvesting Haiti” (Oct. 2023), a collection of essays by Myriam J. A. Chancy, discusses life before and after the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haitians and the ongoing social and political implications of such a disaster.

Bryce Henderson’s “Emergent Quilombos” (Jan. 2024) examines the African roots present in Brazilian art, food, and dance culture. He explores the intersection of race and culture, and tradition and modernity, particularly as it pertains to Black hip-hop.”

In “The Sports Revolution” (Oct. 2023), “Dr. Frank Andre Guridy, former UT Austin professor, examines Texas’s impact on the sports culture revolution throughout the civil rights and second-wave feminism era.