“When students become more familiar with the realities of poverty and individuals struggling to break free of it, they begin to develop a greater sense of responsibility to take action to promote social change.” –Stephen Black
Stephen Black, grandson of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black, grew up in New Mexico after most of his family left the state in the 1950’s and 60’s following his grandfather’s role in controversial Civil Rights decisions, including Brown v. Board of Education. Despite growing up over 1,000 miles away, from a very young age, he was fascinated by Alabama and the legacy of his family’s commitment to public service in their home state.
Mr. Black received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated magna cum laude and his Juris Doctorate from Yale Law School in 1997. Following his graduation from law school, he returned to Alabama to join the Birmingham law firm, Maynard, Cooper & Gale, PC. After three years with the firm, he was called to public service — serving for a brief time as an assistant to the Governor focusing on policy and economic development projects.
Encouraged by the enthusiasm of thousands of students he encountered when speaking across the state, he turned his focus to founding and leading the Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility at The University of Alabama, where he has served as Director since 2004. In 2004, Mr. Black founded Impact Alabama: A Student Service Initiative. Originally housed at the UA Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility, Impact Alabama is the state’s first nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and implementing substantive service-learning projects in coordination with colleges and universities throughout Alabama. In October 2014, Impact Alabama became Impact America, which currently operates in Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Florida, with a team of more than 90 people working at the organization. Mr. Black served as President of Impact from 2004-2018.
In 2008, Black received the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health Leaders Award for his work with FocusFirst. This national award is given annually to individuals who demonstrate creativity and commitment in addressing society’s most pressing health issues. Ten recipients were chosen from over 800 nominations. In June 2017, Stephen received the National Communicator of the Year Award from the National Speech & Debate Association for his work in developing the SpeakFirst Debate Initiative in Birmingham, AL.
To contact Stephen:
1643 Capital Hall