NUBAA Nation

Voices and Visions: The Kirkus Review

We are pleased to share the full review of Voices and Visions: The Evolution of the Black Experience at Northwestern University, authored by Immediate Past-Present Jeffrey Sterling and past NUBAA Vice-President Lauren Lowery. Needless to say, we’re blown away! We think our history is pretty awesome too!


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The Evolution of the Black Experience at Northwestern University

Jeffrey E. Sterling and Lauren Lowery

CreateSpace (560 pp.)

$50.00 hardcover, $40.00 paperback, $9.99 e-book

ISBN: 978-0-692-12737-7; May 25, 2018


A wide-ranging history of the evolving experience of African-Americans at Northwestern University.

While historians have often neglected to record the accomplishments of African-Americans, there has always been an alternative fount of information on the black experience in America: a vibrant oral tradition. Debut author Lowery and Sterling (Behind the Curtain, 2016) aim to capture the lessons of that tradition in writing by presenting the history of the black experience at Northwestern University through a series of interviews with its notable black graduates. They cover a broad swath of historical terrain—campus life, the experience of the black athlete, the tumultuous emergence of black activism, and the transformation of the institution from one that once excluded blacks from living on campus to one that makes a concerted effort to welcome them. The authors both movingly and meticulously depict that transformation. In 1902, Isabella Ellis’ first roommate protested sharing living quarters with a black roommate, and in the same year, Northwestern officially adopted a policy of housing segregation, not overturned until 1953. Another graduate, Stanley L. Hill, was surprised to find the campus a tinderbox of activism even after so much watershed civil rights legislation had passed by the mid-’60s, and he participated in the takeover of the bursar’s office in 1968. The sum result of this institutional evolution is not a campus without prejudice but one committed to the development of each student regardless of race. According to the current provost: “There are unique needs across communities that are driven by different sets of cultural experiences, racial experiences, class-based experiences, etc., but I think it’s always important to articulate that fact that we are going to do the best we can so that every student can just be a student.”

Both Lowery and Sterling graduated from Northwestern, and Sterling serves as president of the Northwestern University Black Alumni Association (Lowery once served as its vice president). The authors’ enthusiastic devotion to the university is constantly evident, and their knowledge of the institution’s history is breathtaking. One can only imagine the hours of labor it took to conduct and record dozens of thoughtful interviews. The result is rare: a massive archive of historical information that is not only a valuable scholarly reference, but a readable book brimming with insight and drama. Also, Lowery and Sterling supply an unvarnished account of a complex evolution that isn’t a simple triumph of good over evil. Alexandria Bobbitt graduated in 2016 and recounts her encounter with “blatant racism” despite years of progress and hard-won improvement. The authors clearly intended to capture the totality of the black experience, one that inevitably includes not only collegiate success and acceptance, but also the struggle against a prejudice that has proved remarkably persistent. They vividly limn the history of a people, of the diminishing but stubborn forces that discriminate against them, and the metamorphosis of the institution that ultimately championed their cause. This is an astonishingly instructive book and should be read by all Northwestern students and faculty, African-American and otherwise.

A painstakingly researched and affecting study.


The book is available in various ways (click on the links to be taken to the purchase sites, or you can just go to Remember, proceeds from VnV go to support The NUBAA Achievement Scholarship and The NUBAA Promise Scholarship.

Hardcover – $50

Paperback – $40

Kindle – $9.99

Go Cats! 

Telling It Like It Was: From The NUBAA Archives to Voices and Visions – Get Your Copy!

On this, the last full day of the 2014-2018 NUBAA administration, the mind wanders to legacy: not of an administration, but of our history at Northwestern. Back in 2013, Lauren Lowery approached me with a notion she’d been working on: the development of an archive dedicated to the Black experience at Northwestern University. She graciously allowed me to join her in founding and bringing to fruition what is now The NUBAA Archives.

Well, the NUBAA Archives was never meant to be simply a collection of documents but a means of directing and telling the history of our experience from the vantage point of the Black community. To that end, in 2017 I was able to return the favor of work(!) to Lauren on an ambitious project to create the first comprehensive telling of the journey and history of African-Americans and other Blacks at Northwestern University. Voices and Visions: The Evolution of the Black Experience at Northwestern University does just that, through study of our history and first-hand accounts from over fifty individuals who have had pivotal roles in the advancement of that experience.

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Here is the Table of Contents from this book that totals over 550 pages. As you can tell from the amazing roster of contributors, this is a robust telling of an approximately 140-year history.



Section I: Early Northwestern

  1. The Earliest Black Attendees of Northwestern University
  2. History of Desegregating Housing at Northwestern University
  3. Dr. Michael Nabors: The Evanston Community and the Northwestern Black Student Experience

Section II: The Black Athlete and the Black Experience

  1. Norm Comer
  2. Jim Pitts
  3. Dee Todd
  4. Joseph Webb
  5. Rishal Dinkins
  6. Katrina Adams
  7. Ricky Byrdsong
  8. Oliver Kupe
  9. Daryl Newell

Section III: Birth of a Community: The 1968 Takeover of the Bursar’s Office

  1. Stanley
  2. Herman Cage
  3. Daphne Maxwell Reid
  4. Steve Colson
  5. Victor Goode
  6. Wayne Watson
  7. Kathryn Ogletree
  8. John Bracey
  9. Eva Jefferson Paterson
  10. Participants in the Bursar’s Office Takeover

Section IV: The Black House / Caring for the Community

  1. Milton Wiggins
  2. Alice Palmer
  3. Karla Spurlock-Evans
  4. Ulysses “Duke” Jenkins
  5. Jerre Michelin
  6. Penny Warren
  7. Debra Blade
  8. Kathleen Bethel
  9. Ce Cole Dillon
  10. Tamara Johnson
  11. Lesley-Ann Brown-Henderson

Section IV: Growth of the Black Experience

  1. Andre Bell
  2. Henry Binford
  3. Robert Moore
  4. Stanley Davis
  5. Aldon Morris
  6. Jabari Asim
  7. Harris Lennix
  8. Asadah Kirkland
  9. Black Greek Letter Organizations

Section V: New Challenges

  1. Charles Whitaker
  2. Tanya D. Woods
  3. Sarah Oberholtzer
  4. Macs Vinson
  5. Kasey Brown
  6. Paula Pretlow

Section VI: Modern Evolution of the Black Experience & A New Future

  1. Alexandria Bobbitt
  2. Charla Wilson
  3. Phil Harris
  4. Sonia Waiters
  5. Michael Wilbon
  6. Jabbar Bennett
  7. Jonathan Holloway
  8. Jeffrey Sterling

Voices and Visions will be released on Monday, July 9th. You can order your copy in either paperback or hard cover at Proceeds of the book will be donated to the NUBAA Achievement Scholarship.

Use the below contact form to be invited to a stop on our upcoming national book tour and to receive other information about Voices and Visions. Thank you for entrusting us to be stewards and caretakers of this history. We look forward to ongoing development and expansion of our stories for years to come.

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Finally, we leave you with words adorning the back cover of the book, provided by double Wildcat Johnnetta S. Cole.

This highly important book shares the experiences of African American students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni who studied, worked, struggled and triumphed at Northwestern University. The compelling stories of African Americans who are currently at the university are also told in this volume. Learning from these voices can lead to a far fuller understanding of Black experiences at Northwestern. For as the Ibo people of Nigeria say: Until lions have their own historians, tales of the hunt will always glorify the hunter. 

Voices and Visions is an invaluable resource as we continue to advocate for policies and procedures that can lead to a greater Black presence at Northwestern and a more inclusive culture on the campus.  Kudos to Dr. Jeffrey Sterling and Lauren Lowery, co-founders of NUBAA Archives, for writing a book we have been waiting for.

Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Ph.D.

C’59 and C’67

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The Takeover – The Revolution of the Black Experience at Northwestern University: Request a Viewing!

As part of our planning for the 50th Anniversary of the 1968 Bursar’s Office Takeover, NUBAA conceived and planned a feature-length documentary to full tell the story.

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The Takeover – The Revolution of the Black Experience at Northwestern University accomplishes the following:

  • It tells the story of the conditions leading up to the campus unrest of 1968
  • It tells the story of the events the takeover; and
  • It reviews the results and legacy of the takeover.

We are working with the Northwestern Alumni Association to get copies of the documentary to you. Expect an announcement regarding this very soon. If you’d like to be contacted for a copy of the documentary once it becomes available, please use the contact form below.

Also, NUBAA invites its MultiCity Groups to request events that include screenings of The Takeover. You may also use the contact form for that purpose.

Special thanks to Digital Cafe for bringing the documentary to life, the Northwestern University Provost’s office for their financial support of the project and to the members of the 1968 Bursar’s Office Takeover for their courage and sacrifice.


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Telling It Like It Was: The 2018 (4th Annual/Commemoration) NUBAA Summit and Salute to Excellence Gala

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The last day of the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the 1968 Bursar’s Office Takeover was the stage for the 4th Annual NUBAA Summit and Salute to Excellence Gala. The event meant to focus both on key individuals from the Bursar’s Office Takeover and the legacy left by the actions from the takeover.

Photos from the fantastic opening reception were shared in the previous post. Events from the day of May 5th included the following:

  • The NUBAA Summit offered seminars on philanthropy and entrepreneurship.


  • The President’s NUBAA Next Luncheon featured a stirring speech from the recipient of the Emerging Leader Award, Michael Blake who is the Vice-President of the Democratic National Committee.


  • The premiere of the NUBAA conceived and produced documentary, The Takeover – The Revolution of the Black Experience at Northwestern University occurred to a packed house, followed by a stirring panel discussion moderated by acclaimed actor and past NUBAA Salute to Excellence Award recipient Harry Lennix.


  • The NUBAA Salute to Excellence Gala honored a group of our most accomplished alumni, including participants in the Bursar’s Office Takeover.


Enjoy the slide show featuring over 100 photos from this unforgettable day of events. Tomorrow’s post will discuss our documentary in greater detail. Video of the events will eventually be available on and within The NUBAA Archives.


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And… a final special thanks to 2014-2018 NUBAA VP and NUBAA Summit Chairperson for each of the four NUBAA Summits, Sonia Waiters. Thank you for your role in bringing NUBAA Nation to where it is today!


Go Cats!

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The 50th Anniversary of the 1968 Bursar’s Office Takeover Day Two (May 4) and NUBAA Summit Opening Reception

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Day Two of the NUBAA Commemoration activities picked up from Day One without missing a beat! The energy in the air at Alice Millar Chapel and the Louis Room of Norris University Center was amazing.

If Day Two didn’t bring a tear of joy to your eye, your heart’s in the wrong place! Consider everything that occurred:

  • The Northwestern Community Ensemble began the festivities with a rousing concert, displaying the original and current sounds that have made it a staple of Black culture at Northwestern for almost fifty years.


  • The students took the stage and delivered a theatrical reading and interpretation of the Bursar’s Takeover, based on the book Voices and Visions: The Evolution of the Black Experience at Northwestern University. We’re still wondering if some of the student performers were direct offspring of the B100 participants they were depicting!


  • We convened a historical panel, consisting of Vice President of Students (at the time of the Bursar’s Office takeover) Roland Hines, B100 participant (and former member of the Northwestern Board of Trustees) Wayne Watson and three of the four Deans of the former Department of African-American Student Affairs: Milton Wiggins, Alice Palmer and Karla Spurlock Evans, moderated by NUBAA President Jeffrey Sterling.


  • We held a ceremony honoring the wide variety of individuals impacting the Black experience at Northwestern. The NUBAA50 Luncheon was undoubtedly the largest such collection of historic figures ever assembled, including the picture of many of the attending participants of the Bursar’s Office takeover.


  • To wrap up a historic day, NUBAA took the celebration on the road. Some relaxed and others partied on a yacht diner cruise down Lake Michigan for the NUBAA Summit Opening Reception.


Enjoy the slideshow featuring over 100 pictures from all of the day’s festivities.

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Videos of the events will be posted on and placed in The NUBAA Archives. Go Cats!

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The 50th Anniversary of the 1968 Bursar’s Office Takeover: Day 1 (May 3rd, 2018)

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After two and a half years of planning (whew!), NUBAA welcomed back over fifty of the members of the 1968 Bursar’s Office Takeover as well as approximately a thousand participants across the weekend’s activities for the 50th Anniversary of that fateful event.

Day One was very sentimental and emotional. Consider everything that occurred:

  • It began with the returnees taking a tour of campus, with many not having been on campus in over forty years! DSCF0025
  • The Commemoration kicked off in full speed with a high-powered Keynote Symposium featuring NU President Morty Schapiro, NUBAA President Jeffrey Sterling and Bursar’s Office takeover participants Kathryn Ogletree and John Bracey. DSCF7806 (1)
  • The panel was followed by an amazing procession through the courtyard toward The Bursar’s Office. DSCF0062
  • A commemorative plaque that is permanently affixed to the Bursar’s Office was unveiled. DSCF0083
  • We held a short program at Rebecca Crown Center, during which a stirring poem “We Were Just Kids” was presented by B100 participant Kimya Moyo. DSCF7872DSCF0155
  • We held a symbolic groundbreaking at The Black House in recognition of the upcoming $4.5 million renovation and modernization of it! DSCF0175DSCF0192
  • We unveiled a Black House commemorative in honor of the B100. It will permanently occupy a wall in the conference room. DSCF0242DSCF0228
  • The B100 members were feted at a private dinner at the residence of President and Mrs. Schapiro.
  • A reception was held with the Department of Athletics, honoring the legacy of athletics as a part of the Black experience at Northwestern. DSCF0286DSCF0310

What a day! Enjoy this slide show featuring about 100 pictures from the various events. In this space ( we will be posting videos of the entire Commemoration! Stay tuned.

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Were you there? Check back tomorrow for the amazing slate of Day 2 activities. Go Cats!

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Register for the NUBAA Annual Meeting!



The NUBAA Annual Meeting will be held Saturday, June 30th between 8:30 and 10:30 am. It will be held at The Black House, 1914 Sheridan Road.

Please use the contact form to confirm your attendance and request an advance electronic copy of the Agenda and Office Reports. These reports will not be distributed at the meeting.


If you have any questions about the Annual Meeting, please forward to Go Cats!

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Telling It Like It Was: Supporting Black Students

Today the Northwestern University Class of 2018 joins the ranks of alumni. NUBAA has dramatically and emphatically been of service to each generation of Black students at NU. Here are some specific ways in which we demonstrate our commitment and provide support.




Since 2013, NUBAA has raised over $300,000 in student scholarship funds, including support of traditional needs-based funds such as the Gardner-Exum Scholarship Fund, The Alpha Phi Alpha Endowment Fund, The Alpha Kappa Alpha Endowment Fund and the NUBAA Promise Scholarship. In 2015, we introduced the NUBAA Achievement Scholarship (NAS) to offer financial aid eligibility based on performance. In the last three years alone, the NAS has generated over $130,000 in gifts and pledges, and NUBAA itself is making an additional $25,000 contribution to the NAS at its annual meeting!


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In 2014, we developed a student-alumni mentor program we call the NUBAA Student Based Initiatives (SBI). We have had over 400 alumni participate with students via mixers, direct mentoring, internships. Several graduating students have received full term employment from this program.


During 2017-18 academic year, we hosted different SBI events in the following disciplines: The Arts, Athletics, Business & Entrepreneurship, Engineering, Medicine/Health, and the Legal Professions.



In 2015, NUBAA was out front in bringing clarity to the role and evolution of The Black House. Circumstances necessitated development of a petition of students, faculty, staff and alumni including approximately 2500 signatures, followed by participation and oversight in subsequent university efforts that have resulted in a multimillion dollar renovation and reimagining of the space and services offered in the building more synonymous with the Black experience on campus.



THE JOY (Journey of Our Years)

NUBAA has co-sponsored and/or the NUBAA President has participated in The Joy (The Black Celebratory) every year since its inception. In 2016, NUBAA began a new tradition of presenting graduating students purple NUBAA stoles as a measure of welcoming them into the next phase of their Wildcat existence. Enjoy these photos from the 2016 event (other years are available within

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Congratulations to the Class of 2018! Welcome to NUBAA! Go Cats!

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Telling It Like It Was: The Launch of The NUBAA Archives

As much as NUBAA has accomplished over the last few years, you’d be hard pressed to find an initiative more significant and meant to be as long-lasting as the establishment of The NUBAA Archives.

The NUBAA Archives is meant to research, organize, disseminate, publicize and archive the history of persons of African descent who were either students, staff or faculty at Northwestern University from its inception into the future. In time, the NUBAA Archives aspires to implement a comprehensive survey of Northwestern schools and departments, as well as collections held by community organizations and independent historians and creators in order to compile the history of Blacks at Northwestern. We include here a copy of the proposal presentation (NUBAA Archive Presentation FINAL 1 26) submitted by NUBAA for establishment of The NUBAA Archives.

After years of conception and negotiation, a partnership between NUBAA and Northwestern University Libraries brought the project to fruition in 2018. The effort was launched publicly with an incredible discussion with alumnae Johnnetta Cole, PhD (C’59 and C’67), moderated by Provost Jonathan Holloway. View it in total here.

The NUBAA Archives also included the establishment of a permanent position in the Northwestern Archives: The Archivist for the Black Experience, and we welcomed Charla Wilson to Northwestern as the inaugural archivist. Very special thanks go to Sara Pritchard (NU Librarian), Kevin Leonard (NU Archivist), Lauren Lowery (NUBAA Archive Co-Founder and Project Director) and Jeffrey Sterling (NUBAA President and NUBAA Archive Co-Founder) for bringing the project to reality, and to the Provost’s Office for providing financial support. It is notable that several major collections have already been obtained as a result of this effort.

If you would like more information on how to share your artifacts or other documents, please contact us at Go Cats!

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Telling It Like It Was: The 3rd Annual (2017) NUBAA Summit and Salute to Excellence GalaSalute to

It looked like the third time was the charm. The 2016 Summit was so successful, we cancelled plans to go to Las Vegas and returned to LA, again during Oscars Weekend. In fact, we even got NU President Morty Schapiro to attend (with a huge contingent of officials and administrators from Northwestern, no doubt)! Come back again and again to enjoy the hundreds of pictures from the 2017 NUBAA Summit. Even more photos and videos are available at

2017 Summit Honorees

Opening Session: Club Elevate

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The NUBAA Summit

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Salute to Excellence Gala Honoree Pictures

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Salute to Excellence Gala

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Go Cats!

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