Black Solidarity Day is a national event that has taken place every year since 1969, and has been observed at SUNY New Paltz since 1971.
Initiated by Dr. Carlos Russell, a former professor at Brooklyn College, the original purpose of Black Solidarity Day was to provide African-Americans with an occasion to unite in their communities on the Monday prior to Election Day (the first Monday in November), to discuss the candidates and issues up for vote and to consider broader strategies for combating racial inequality and prejudice.
Over the years the meanings and traditions associated with Black Solidarity Day have expanded. Many contemporary observers choose to stay at home in reflection with close friends and family members, while other communities host public events like film screenings, lectures and artistic performances.
SUNY New Paltz encourages all students to observe Black Solidarity Day as they see fit, and each year hundreds of students do so. The College has resolved that no tests, quizzes or graded material of any kind should be issued or due on the first Monday of November, and that students who provide their professors with prior notification of their intention to stay home in observation of Black Solidarity Day will not be held accountable for this absence from normal class activity.