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The CSU Celebrates Black History Month


This month in particular, the California State University’s African American Initiative focuses its efforts on helping more of the state’s black students prepare for and succeed in college.

Parent and student looking at college materials

Volunteers from all over the California State University system participate in outreach events like Super Sunday to promote a college-going culture in black communities. 


​Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a recognition of the important role black Americans have played in the United States throughout its history.

This year's theme, "The Crisis in Black Education," focuses on the crucial role of education in the African American narrative as a contributor to progress. But for many black students the benefits afforded by a good education remain elusive. "The crisis in black education has grown significantly in urban neighborhoods where public schools lack resources, endure overcrowding, exhibit a racial achievement gap, and confront polices that fail to deliver substantive opportunities," according to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the founders of Black History Month.

According to a 2015 report by Education Trust – West, black children, whether from upper- or lower-income families, are the least likely to graduate from high school in four years and complete a college degree.

In that same report, Education Trust – West recognized the CSU's African American Initiative for implementing effective strategies to promote education and student success among California's black students.

The CSU's initiative partners with over 100 churches across California that serve predominantly African American congregations to hold its annual "Super Sunday" event. CSU leaders, including the chancellor and campus presidents, visit churches to deliver a message from the pulpit encouraging youth to pursue higher education.

Students and their families also receive important resources from the CSU such as information on admissions, financial aid, housing and more, to foster a college-going culture at home.

Similarly, the initiative also hosts "Super Saturday," a college fair that inspires middle and high school students from historically underserved communities to prepare for college success at the CSU.

In the East Bay and Los Angeles areas, the CSU offers the Summer Algebra Institute, a free six-week mathematics program for seventh- and eighth-grade students organized in collaboration with predominantly African American churches. Not only do students learn math, they're also exposed to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). ​

All of these efforts point to the systemwide goal of closing the achievement gap, part of the CSU's Graduation Initiative 2025. The CSU is committed to establishing a continuous pipeline from preschool to a bachelor's degree and to better academically preparing students to succeed at the university level.