Black History Month: February 2014

To recall and celebrate the positive contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week beginning on Feb. 12, 1926. In 1976, as part of the nation's bicentennial, the week was expanded into Black History Month.



Condoleezza Rice is the first black woman to serve as the United States' national security adviser, as well as the first black woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State (2005-09). Rice has always been in a class of her own. Rice was a piano prodigy at the age of three, a college graduate at 19, a college professor at 26, a senior White House advisor at 34 and provost -- a combination of chief operating officer and chief financial officer -- of Stanford University at 36. In 2001, Rice became National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush. She had been a Professor of Political Science at Stanford University before taking an academic leave of absence in 1999 to serve as the primary foreign policy advisor to the Bush presidential campaign. 


  • November 14, 1954, in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Received a BA in political science from the University of Denver at age 19, followed by an MA in political science from the University of Notre Dame in 1975, and a PhD from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver in 1981.
  • Is an expert on Russia and Eastern Europe.
  • Began teaching political science at Stanford University in 1981. From 1989 to 1991 she advised the first Bush administration on foreign policy and military issues, including the unification of Germany and the breakup of the Soviet Union.
  • Named provost of Stanford University, the university's budget and academic official, in 1993-1999.
  • Authored several books on foreign policy, including Germany Unified and Europe Transformed (1995) with Philip Zelikow, The Gorbachev Era (1986) with Alexander Dallin, and Uncertain Allegiance: The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army (1984).
  • Holds honorary doctorates from Morehouse College, the University of Alabama, and the University of Notre Dame.
  • Joined the Stanford faculty in 1981 and won two of its highest teaching honors -- the 1984 Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 1993 School of Humanities and Sciences Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching.
  • Her teaching and research interests included the politics of East-Central Europe and the former Soviet Union, the comparative study of military institutions, and international security policy. She pursued these specialties in academia and in government service.
  • Served in the Bush administration from 1988-1991 as Director, and then Senior Director, of Soviet and East European Affairs in the National Security Council, and as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.
  • Member of the boards of directors for the Chevron Corporation, the Charles Schwab Corporation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the University of Notre Dame, the International Advisory Council of J.P. Morgan and the San Francisco Symphony Board of Governors.
  • Founding Board Member of the Center for a New Generation, an educational support fund for schools in East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park, California, and is Vice President of the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula.


  • Rice the backlash of September 11th on Islamic people: "We want it to be very clear that the war on terrorism is not a war against Islam. Islam is a religion that respects innocent human life. So we cannot believe that Islam would countenance the kind of destruction that we saw on September 11th."
  • Rice on Education: “Education is transformational. It changes lives. That is why people work so hard to become educated and why education has always been the key to the American Dream, the force that erases arbitrary divisions of race and class and culture and unlocks every person's God-given potential.” 
  • Rice on Racism: "You never cede control of your own ability to be successful to something called racism.”