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Office of Academic Affairs

Black Solidarity Day 2016

Black Solidarity Day – observed on the first Monday of November, the day before Election Day – is Monday, November 7th.  Founded in 1969 and observed at New Paltz since 1971, Black Solidarity Day invites people of African and African American descent and supporters throughout the country to abstain from participating in their regular activities.  This peaceful absence demonstrates opposition to racism, as well as social and civil injustices, on a global level.  The African and African American community and supporters assess collective priorities, political and economic power, and plans for the future. 

The cultural, political and scientific history of our nation and our world is rich with the influence of many peoples, and our collective story cannot be adequately told without acknowledging and understanding the many contributions of Africans and African Americans.  During the week of November 7, we encourage faculty across all disciplines to consider incorporating materials or discussions that explore African and African American contributions.  Please also consider encouraging student participation in appropriate extra-curricular programming (talks, seminars, panels, movie screenings, etc.).

We remind you that, in observance of Black Solidarity Day and according to New Paltz policy ( and as noted each year on the academic calendar:

•    No tests, quizzes or graded assignments of any kind
     should be issued or due on Black Solidarity Day; and

•    Students who choose to participate in Black Solidarity Day
     should notify their professors beforehand and will not be
     held accountable for absence on that day.

We ask that faculty who may have inadvertently scheduled graded work for November 7th attempt to revise the course schedule. In cases where that is impossible, we ask that they work with individual students to make arrangements for alternate plans. 

Thank you all for your support of this important and longstanding campus tradition.


Lorin Basden Arnold
Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs

History of Black Solidarity Day
Black Solidarity Day was first observed in 1969 on the campus of Brooklyn College, when several students and activists were inspired by Douglas Turner Ward’s controversial play entitled A Day of Absence. The satirical play depicted a small southern town in turmoil when all the Black citizens suddenly disappeared, revealing the political, social and economic power of the Black community. Celebrated on the first Monday of November, the day before Election Day, Black Solidarity Day reminds the nation of the collective strength and political power of the Black community. To commemorate the spirit of Black Solidarity, people may wear all black or a black or silver ribbon to show their support.