The Black Community Services Center (BCSC), affectionately called "The Black House" was established as a result of student activism; the community named this historic and pivotal action, "Take Back the Mic." In 1968, after the assassination of Dr. King, Stanford held a symposium on White Racism in America, featuring a panel of White men. During this symposium, 70 members of the Black Student Union (BSU) along with local community members walked on stage, and “took the mic” and issued 10 demands, 9 of which were agreed to. These demands and their organizing led to a significant amount of change on campus including the establishment of the first community center ― the Black Community Services Center in 1969 and eventually the rest of the community centers, now known collectively as the Centers for Equity, Community, and Leadership. Additionally, "Take Back the Mic" brought about the establishment of The Program in African & African American Studies (AAAS). This year, the Black House celebrates 50 years of BLACK EXCELLENCE!
The Black Community Services Center focuses on the holistic development of our students, all of which aligns with our five pillars that include the following: academic / intellectual, alumni engagement, community building, leadership development, and mental health and well-being. The BCSC's programming is very extensive and includes the Ernest Houston Johnson Scholars Program, a 2-quarter mentorship program / course for frosh; the Annual Academic & Community Awards Ceremony (over 30 years old), a celebration of students’ academic achievements along with faculty, staff, student organizations, and student leaders who have done exceptional work to uplift, empower, and serve the community; and the annual Black Graduation Ceremony (over 40 years old), an annual event held in June to commemorate the many achievements of Stanford's Black graduating students with family and friends. These are just a few of the many programs put on by the BCSC. Currently the Black House provides academic advising and support, leadership development, and training for over 30 Black Voluntary Student Organizations (BVSOs). The BCSC supports the Black Staff Alliance (BSA), community service outreach, and various cultural and educational programs.
We create a home where everyone can feel welcome whether a new frosh on campus excited to connect with the community or a visiting family who wants to learn more about Stanford or our beloved alumni who want to stay involved and give back. Our center was created 50 years ago for students to find connection points from across the Black Diaspora; it doesn’t matter if you identify as Black American, Nigerian American, Jamaican, Ghanaian, Afro-Latinx, etc. we provide opportunities for you to engage with Black students that also hold multiple social identities (gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, etc.) as well.
The connection to the Black community at Stanford does not end at graduation. The BCSC serves as a vital link between Black alumni and the University through collaborative programming with Black Alumni Chapters across the country, the Stanford National Black Alumni Association, and the Stanford Alumni Association. Throughout our existence, the BCSC has been instrumental in creating a community that fosters intellectual, personal, and cultural growth. Our sustained commitment to promoting academic excellence and to the empowerment of the Black Diaspora has created a legacy of scholars, leaders, and agents of social change that have not only impacted Stanford, but the nation, and the world.