ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb. 4, 2021) – February marks the start of Black History Month, a nationally recognized celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time to recognize their role in shaping U.S. history.

This year’s celebration comes in the wake of an unprecedented year for Black Americans – from widespread protests over a series of fatal police shootings including of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, to the election of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and the high numbers of Black voters, all in the midst of a global pandemic that has exposed our nation’s longstanding systemic health inequalities.

Experts at the University at Albany are available to discuss the significance of Black History Month in 2021 and how current events may shape this commemoration in the years ahead.

Oscar Williams, Associate Professor, Department of Africana Studies


“My philosophy is that African American history is American history, and that current events in this country are reflective of the continuous struggle to ensure the protection of Democracy and its extension to all Americans. The tumultuous events of the past year demonstrate that American society needs to be dedicated toward challenging racism and working toward a truly unified nation. Lastly, the Black History Month is not limited to one month; it is a lifetime dedication to recognizing the sacrifice and contribution of African Americans.”

Janell Hobson, Professor and Department Chair, Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies


“Black History Month is more pertinent than ever in these times of crisis and racial and political divisions. And this year's theme about the Black Family is an opportune time to reflect on the ways that communities in the African Diaspora have maintained family traditions and even transformed these dynamics through the preservation of extended families.”

“With the ascendancy of Kamala Harris as the first Black woman Vice President of the United States, who represents a blended family, and the honor of placing on the $20 bill a prominent historical figure like Harriet Tubman, this is the best time to celebrate Black History Month.”

“Now is the time to fully integrate African American lives, cultures and traditions into American culture and society because we have so much to contribute and to teach.”

David Glovsky, Assistant Professor, Department of Africana Studies


“Black History Month is an opportunity to reflect on the global nature of the history of African-descended peoples, and to emphasize the interconnectedness of Black history and the Black experience worldwide. Within the United States, Black history is extremely diverse, and that diversity is a source of strength.”

“While Black history is important every month of the year, we should use this month to reflect on the historical and contemporary contributions of Black Americans, and to connect their struggles and triumphs to those of Black communities around the world.”


About the University at Albany:

A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, businesseducation, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare and sociology, taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.



Register for reporter access to contact details