The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History was established on July 1, 1988. Initially known as the Black Cultural Center, it was renamed for beloved faculty member Dr. Sonja Haynes Stone after her untimely death in 1991. Upon its inception, The Stone Center focused its attention on raising awareness of and appreciation for African-American culture by the campus community. Today, the center is one of the preeminent sites in the nation for the critical examination of African and African-American diaspora cultures, providing intellectual and cultural programming that is both timely and informative.
Early in its history, the center began to outgrow its 900 square-foot space in the Frank Porter Graham Student Union. The need for a freestanding center became a top priority. In 1993, after active urging by a coalition of students, faculty and staff, the Board of Trustees approved a site for a freestanding center. The much-anticipated groundbreaking took place in April of 2001. The tri-level 44,500 square-foot building opened in August 2004.