Celebrating Black History and Culture at Georgetown
We celebrate the many contributions of our Black students, alumni, faculty and staff to our community and society, and recognize the broad range of teaching, scholarship and advocacy at Georgetown aimed at advancing Black heritage and history.
Black History Month
The first organized national celebration of Black history was conceived by historian Carter G. Woodson in 1925. During the month of February, Georgetown joins the nation in commemorating Black History Month.
Celebrate Black History
African American Studies
The Department of African American Studies delivers scholarship and courses that deeply and substantively examine Black culture, history and experience throughout the Americas; study African culture, history, people and politics as pretext and context to Africans in the Americas experience; and explore the Black Atlantic diaspora.
‘Students Are My Lighthouse in a Big Ocean’
Donna Brazile, a renowned political strategist and the former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, is celebrating 20+ years of teaching at Georgetown. On the Hill, she is sought after by campaigns for her depth of knowledge and experience. On the Hilltop, she takes time to instruct the next generation of political leaders.
Golden Arches in Black America
In her Pulitzer Prize-winning book Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America, history and African American Studies professor Marcia Chatelain meticulously researches the ways in which fast-food franchises like McDonald’s became one of the greatest generators of Black wealth in America through first-hand accounts and government documents.
Faculty Research and Expertise
New research from Georgetown faculty and the Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network reveals that beginning screenings at age 40 would decrease disparities in breast cancer deaths for Black women.
In their new book, “Blacks and Jews in America,” two scholars invite readers to dig deeper into the history of Black and Jewish activism in the U.S., particularly after WWII.
“I recognized that the scale required to effectively dismantle systems of gender oppression in African labor markets can only be achieved at the policy level. I also realized that these structural changes must be driven by a change in social norms, which have historically been achieved by social movements. I therefore wanted to contribute to solutions towards increasing financing for gender-based movements.”
“As COVID-19 displaced my friends, I realized that the fight for equality requires marching through the streets and the grocery aisle, and that marginalized groups will never be truly free until they have equal access to the freshest foods.”
“Ultimately, my mission was to leave a legacy for the next generation of young artists and to inspire them. But as it turned out, they really inspired me.”
“Our community is integral to the university. Our experiences at Georgetown shaped, molded, refined and pressure-tested us. Our alums have gone forth and prospered. The Black Alumni Council is an opportunity to strengthen the alumni engagement work we’ve been doing, and formally connect the dots. There is power in the collective.”
History of Community
Founded in 1979, the Black Theater Ensemble produces the works of Black artists, expands discourse related to the experience of the Black community and amplifies traditionally underrepresented voices.
Georgetown marks the 50th anniversary of the Community Scholars Program by celebrating its longtime commitment to affordability and access to higher education among first-generation and low-income college students.
The Quest for Racial Justice
Through teaching, research, artistic expression, advocacy and activism, the university calls attention to disparities in health, income, housing and more, while exploring the systematic racism, diasporas, migrations and social structures that continue to impact the lives of people of color.
Racial Justice Institute Founding Co-Directors
“Coming back to Georgetown is a gift beyond measure for me. That I can both be at a law school that’s making such important strides on so many of the things that I care about and also be involved in launching the Racial Justice Institute, which stands to make a huge impact on scholarship and policy bearing on race, is amazing.”
“If we think about racism as a system or a structure that is consistently disadvantaging some groups and advantaging others, we need to look at that very explicitly through expressive culture, policy, and law and how they intersect with health and well-being.”
“There is so much diversity within Black communities globally. We seldom hear or see the success stories of people of color. I want to make sure the unique histories of People of Color, LGBTQ communities – really all communities with a story to tell – reach a broad audience through the public face of the arts.”
Witnessing History in the Making
In April 2022, women members of Georgetown Law’s Black Law Students Association attended the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Learn about what the experience was like and what it meant to them as they look toward their own futures.
Celebrating Black Joy
In her first novel released today, Georgetown College Professor Mecca Jamilah Sullivan explores the paths generations of Black women and girls take to make space for themselves in the world.
The “We Are Georgetown: Celebrating Our Black History” collection, launched by the Georgetown University Library, documents the oral histories of Black students, staff, faculty and alumni at Georgetown.
Slavery, Memory and Reconciliation
Georgetown is engaged in a long-term and ongoing process to more deeply understand and respond to the university’s role in the injustice of slavery and the legacies of enslavement and segregation in our nation. Through engagement with the members of the Descendant community, collaborative projects and new initiatives and learning and research, the university pursues a path of memorialization and reconciliation in our present day.
Honoring the Enslaved
Carlos Simon, a composer, musician and Georgetown professor, composed the work, “Requiem for the Enslaved,” to honor the 272 men, women and children who were sold by the Maryland Province of the Jesuits in 1838 and their more than 8,000 Descendants. In 2022, his work was nominated for a Grammy.
Engaging the DC Community
Students and faculty in the School of Nursing & Health Studies helped develop a new educational module on implicit bias for the District of Columbia Department of Health.
Students in the Black Georgetown Rediscovered course toured the Mount Zion – Female Union Band Society cemeteries and helped document the estimated 9,000 Black residents of Georgetown buried at the site.