Dr. Daniel Black, Author and African American Studies Professor, to Deliver Address at Clark Atlanta University’s 35th Commencement Exercises

Commencement is Saturday, May 18, at 8 a.m. at the CAU Panther Stadium, rain or shine

Clark Atlanta University has announced that Dr. Daniel Black, a 1988 graduate of Clark College (a parent institution of the university), author and a veteran professor of African American Studies at the university, will deliver the address during its 35th commencement exercises on Saturday, May 18, 2024, at 8 a.m., at the Clark Atlanta University Panther Stadium.

Black has written seven novels, including The Coming, Perfect Peace, They Tell Me of a Home, The Sacred Place, Don’t Cry for Me, Twelve Gates to the City, and Listen to the Lambs.

His latest book is a collection of essays titled Black on Black, where he takes on provocative topics in chapters such as “Integration: A Failed Experience,” “Black, But Not Beautiful: An Aesthetic Dilemma” and “Prayer Won’t Fix This: What to Do with the Black Church.”

“We are proud to turn the commencement rostrum over to a 30-year member of our own community whose prolific writing encourages self-love and self-agency,” said CAU President George T. French, Jr., Ph.D.  “Dr. Black is not afraid to delve deeply into difficult topics, and his extraordinary talent allows him to do so with lyricism and uncompromising candor. We look forward to the message he will impart to our graduates as they prepare to battle for authenticity and truth at a time when both are becoming more and more elusive.”

Black is the winner of the Distinguished Writer Award from the Middle-Atlantic Writer’s Association and has been nominated for the Townsend Prize for Fiction, the Ernest J. Gaines Award, and the Georgia Author of the Year Award.

Black, a native of Kansas City, Kansas, graduated from Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University), where he earned the Oxford Modern British Studies fellowship and studied abroad at Oxford University. He was awarded a full fellowship to Temple University, where he earned a doctorate in African American Studies.

He also works as a diversity consultant—speaking at companies such as Google, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, AT&T, and Global Payments—and is the founder of the Ndugu-Nzinga Rites of Passage Nation, a mentoring society for people of African descent who seek to love themselves and build a world of character for their people.

The Rev. Dr. Michael T. McQueen will deliver the message during the baccalaureate service on Friday, May 17, at 10 a.m., in the Vivian Wilson Henderson Health and Physical Education Center. He is the superintendent of the Central North District in North Georgia for The United Methodist Church.

Honorees during the four-day commencement celebration include activist, author, and educator Georgianne Thomas, Doctor of Arts in the Humanities, a 2006 CAU graduate, who will receive the Grace Towns Hamilton/Evelyn Gibson Lowery “Women of Excellence” Social Justice Award during the baccalaureate service; and Tina Maria Dunkley, a 1980 graduate of Atlanta University (a parent institution of the university) and the former director and curator of the Clark Atlanta University Art Museum, who will receive an honorary degree during commencement.

For a full list of graduation activities, visit

About Clark Atlanta University

Clark Atlanta University was formed with the consolidation of Atlanta University and Clark College, both of which hold unique places in the annals of African American history. Atlanta University, established in 1865 by the American Missionary Association, was the nation’s first institution to award graduate degrees to African Americans. Clark College, established four years later in 1869, was the nation’s first four-year liberal arts college to serve a primarily African American student population. Today, with nearly 4,000 students, CAU is the largest of the four institutions (CAU, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Morehouse School of Medicine) that compose the Atlanta University Center Consortium. It is also the largest of the 37-member UNCF institutions. Notable alumni include: James Weldon Johnson, American civil rights activist, poet, and songwriter (Lift Every Voice and Sing – “The Black National Anthem”; Ralph David Abernathy, Sr., American civil rights activist; Congressman Hank Johnson, Georgia District 4; Kenya Barris, American award-winning television and movie producer; Kenny Leon, Tony Award-winning Broadway Director; Jacque Reid, Emmy Award-winning Television Personality and Journalist; Brandon Thompson, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for NASCAR; Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Recording Academy. To learn more about Clark Atlanta University, visit