The work of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History falls under three categories: Scholarship and Scholarly Initiatives; Cultural Programming; and Social Justice Outreach and Community Programming.

Programmatic initiatives under cultural programming help the campus community, and others, to more critically assess and understand that African-American and other African diaspora cultures have a cumulative history of critical discourse that is consistently being examined, constructed and reconstructed. Our cultural programming includes:

The Pamela Nicole Cummings Visiting Artist Fellowship

Supported by a gift from alumnus Anthony Wayne Cummings, the Pamela Nicole Cummings Visiting Artist Fellowship supports young, rising artists who are at the beginning of their professional careers. Artists may undertake a range of projects and activities during this short-term residency.

The Diaspora Festival of Black and Independent Film

A twice a year (fall and spring) series that features primarily independent film from all corners of the African diaspora and beyond with commentary by the directors of the films and scholars.

The Hekima Film Discussions

An informal gathering of students, faculty and community residents who come together to view and discuss black and independent films from across the the African diaspora.

The Sonja Haynes Stone Memorial Lecture

The Sonja Haynes Stone Memorial Lecture is the signature program of the Center and, each year, brings a woman lecturer to campus whose work, scholarship and service epitomize the vision and spirit of Dr. Sonja Haynes Stone. Past lecturers have included Pearl Cleage, Alfre Woodard, Angela Davis, Attalah Shabazz and Julianne Malveaux.

The African Diaspora Lecture Series

The African Diaspora Lecture Series presents lectures, roundtables and debates on a variety of subjects from the African diaspora. Topics, as well as discussions, are provocative, wide-ranging and informative and give UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, students and the surrounding community an opportunity to offer a critical analysis of the evolution of African-American and other African diaspora cultures.

Okun Collegiums

The Collegiums Program provides support for joint research/study projects by faculty and students on various topics in Africana studies. Collegiums support collaborative work on African diaspora subjects from a wide-range of perspectives and from interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary vantage points. The is a initiative supported by a donation from the late Daniel and Beth Okun.

Visiting Scholar Program

Supports short-term residency by scholars from throughout the diaspora. While in residence, scholars may undertake research or other projects of their choice.

Undergraduate International Studies Fellowship

Supports international study by two undergraduates of color or other students who, because of socio-economic or other reasons, may be underrepresented in study-abroad programs. Although the fellowship seeks to encourage students to study in Africa or in an African diaspora country, there are no restrictions on intended country of study. You can download an application here.

Faculty Art, Culture and Creativity Grants

Grants of up to $4,000 are available for UNC at Chapel Hill faculty who use their creative talent, knowledge and skills in African American and diaspora arts  and culture to imagine novel approaches to contemporary issues. Sonja Haynes Stone Center Art, Culture and Creativity Grants supports innovation, imagination and artistic excellence that seeks pathways to a more just and sustainable future for all.

The Sean Douglas Initiative

The Sean Douglas initiative is an opportunity to support undergraduate students in their efforts to gain professional development experience through internships with the Stone Center’s director. Led by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and the Douglas family, this effort memorializes Sean Douglas, a U.S. Army veteran, aviator and community leader. Through this initiative, fellows are to be awarded semester-long paid fellowships and work directly with our Director to develop meaningful leadership experiences on campus and in the surrounding communities.

Director’s Undergraduate Leadership Administrative Fellowship (DUAL)

The Director’s Undergraduate Administrative Leadership Fellowship (DUAL) provides an undergraduate student an opportunity to serve as an fellow and work closely with the Director of the Stone Center. The fellow will participate in staff, Board and other key meetings, work on specially designed projects, assist the Director in drafting project, program and special reports, and attend outside meetings where possible and appropriate. The DUAL fellow will receive a monetary stipend or other appropriate award for completing the program.

Venezuelan Aspects of the African Diaspora (VAAD) Program

A semester-long study abroad program between UNC at Chapel Hill and The Instituto Universitario de Barlovento (IUB) located in Venezuela, is set to begin in fall 2010. The IUB was founded in 1991 and is one of few historically black institutions of higher learning in Latin America. Students interested in the program should visit the UNC Study Abroad Office Web site for more information and application instructions.

These programs connect the work and resources of the Stone Center with outside communities and seek solutions to socio-economic and other inequities that affect the quality of life.

Communiversity Youth Programs

Communiversity Youth Programs, sponsored by the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, is one of the Stone Center’s longest-standing programs. Since its inception in 1992, Communiversity has connected the vision of Dr. Stone and the work and resources of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center with the University campus and local and state communities through service-learning, community-building, social justice outreach, leadership, cultural literacy development and interpersonal skills development. Communiversity fulfills an important part of the Stone Center’s mission of examining the role of culture in social change and community development by helping to improve student performance through education and practical experience. These components educate, empower and expose participating community youth to various aspects of African and African-American culture and history, along with other cultural traditions, through alternative teaching methods.  Working in cooperation with other University departments and the Chapel Hill Carrboro school system, Communiversity has established lasting relationships and built an important bridge between the University and these communities while also sponsors other community outreach programs that assist in building and/or rebuilding key economic and social resources.

Communiversity programming supports local students in grades K-5 and takes place at University United Methodist Church (150 E. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC) from Monday through Thursday. Student participants work alongside UNC volunteers from 3:00pm-5:45pm in various academic and cultural enrichment activities.

Volunteer with Communiversity

Our Children’s Place (OCP)

OCP is a residential initiative allowing young children (babies and preschoolers) to live with their mothers while the women serve out their sentences for nonviolent offenses. Contact Melissa Radcliff at 919-843-2670 or email for more information.

Building Bonds, Breaking B.A.R.S

Building Bonds, Breaking B.A.R.S is a student organization that allows UNC undergraduate students to serve as mentors to students in the C.A. Dillon Youth Development Center. Building Bonds also conducts campus programming and community initiatives to spread awareness about the disproportionate number of African-American males in the juvenile justice system. Contact Building Bonds at 919.843.1865 or email for more information.

Building Bonds End of Year Report