Announcements, News

The following message was sent to the Middlebury community from President Laurie Patton and Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Khuram Hussain.


Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Black History Month holds out an inclusive vision for a multiracial democracy. It also reflects one of the highest purposes of an education––to explore diverse ways of knowing that deepen our understanding of ourselves and our communities and empower us to build a better world.

Each year in February, Black History Month invites us to celebrate the contributions of Black people to American history and culture with a particular focus on a theme or idea. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History this year has chosen the theme of African Americans and the Arts––a celebration of African, Caribbean, and Black American leadership in visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary arts, and other forms of cultural expression. This theme is timely given Middlebury’s recent focus on the arts and the opening of the newly renovated Johnson Building.

The idea of a designated month was first sponsored in February 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse E. Moorland. The original observance, and those in the following years, recognized the need to confront prevailing racist ideas through scholarship and education. The event eventually developed into a month-long celebration, first at Kent State in 1970, and then on many college campuses. President Ford formally recognized it in 1976. 

At Middlebury, we honor the presence and contributions of African Americans in our campus communities, our nation, and our world. We join in celebrating the myriad ways that Black intellectuals, artists, educators, and workers have created a rich and complex culture in the midst of oppression and systematic efforts to deny or denigrate their contributions. In that same spirit, Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois famously asked, without Black people “would America have been America?”

Keeping these themes and history in mind, we share the following opportunities to celebrate Black History at Middlebury starting this week and continuing into the spring semester:

The Middlebury Institute of International Studies is hosting a Black History Month Film Festival Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. in the Irvine Auditorium in collaboration with Black Leaders and Allies Collaborative (BLAAC). Dates and films are as follows:

The Middlebury College Black Studies Film Series will feature four films, shown at 7 p.m. in Axinn 232 as follows:

  • February 21: Do the Right Thing by Spike Lee
  • February 28: Mother of George by Andrew Dosunmu
  • March 6: Judas and the Black Messiah by Shaka King
  • March 13: Moonlight by Barry Jenkins

The Anderson Freeman Resource Center (AFC) and the Black Student Union (BSU) at the College will host a series of events during and after Black History Month (BHM) and beyond. For more details, follow the Anderson Freeman Center Instagram, @middafc. Following are the events, dates, and times:

  • Feb. 14: AFC Salon Opening, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Feb. 17: Black Student Union Ceramics Event
  • Feb. 19–25: Black History Month Spirit Week
  • Feb. 19: Black History Month Discussion Spaces, 2–5 p.m.
  • Feb. 22: Apollo Night (Spoken Poetry)
  • Feb. 23: Dining Takeover and Pop-Up Hair Day
  • Feb. 24: BSU Evo Twerkshop
  • Feb. 25: BSU and AFC Soul Food Sunday
  • Feb. 26: BHM Discussion Spaces, 2–5 p.m.
  • March 1: AFC Karaoke Night, 6–8 p.m., at Wilson Café
  • March 2: BSU Shades of Nude Brunch

The Middlebury College Raquel Albarrán Lecture Series, Spring 2024 Speaker: On April 5, Juliet Hooker, Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence in Political Science at Brown University, will give the second lecture in this now annual series, which is named in honor of the late Raquel Albarrán, assistant professor of Luso-Hispanic studies, whose work cut across Black studies, Indigenous studies, decolonial thought, Black feminisms, and Queer theory. Professor Hooker is a political theorist specializing in racial justice, Black political thought, Latin American political thought, democratic theory, and contemporary political theory. She has also written on racism and Afro-descendant and Indigenous politics in Latin America. She is the author of three books. 

We invite all to participate in personally meaningful ways such as exploring the cultural and intellectual works of Black scholars, making space for courageous conversations with friends and peers, and taking part in events offered on and off campus this month and into this new year.

Yours in community,

Laurie L. Patton

Khuram Hussain
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion