In 1976, a small group of Black alumni decided to organize a reunion of black graduates of the University of Michigan. The idea for the event grew out of recognition that if Black Alumni were to continue to be a part of their alma mater, we would need them to return to the University in greater numbers and become active in the affairs of the Alumni Association and the University (AAUM). This group of committed alumni coordinated an annual event that became known as the Annual All-Class Reunion of Black Graduates (RBG) of the University of Michigan. After several years of continued success and growth, the event has become the pinnacle event of the organization. The event occurs every year during the U-M Homecoming Weekend.
Seeing the success of the RBG, other Black alumni-inspired initiatives and activities began to ensue. One of the most notable of these initiatives is the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Fund, which was created to help defer tuition cost and recognize the academic excellence of high school seniors who have been accepted to University of Michigan. Active involvement of Black Alumni in student recruitment and mentorship programs were also integral to the growth of the organization.
In 1994, there was a reorganization of the group. The AAUM officially recognized and incorporated the organization as a Special Interest Affiliate. From this point, the group would be known as African American Alumni Council (AAAC). They governed under this name until 2014. Recognizing that U-M has Black alumni from around the world, the group decided that University of Michigan Black Alumni was a more befitting name that was all-inclusive and better represented the alumni demographic that we serve.
Black alumni around the world continue to build on the tradition of commitment and leadership.
Photo Credit: Tyrell Collier