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 bit.ly/NUVisions). 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! 

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 NUBAA.org 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 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 (NUBAA.org) 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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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 nubaapresident@gmail.com. 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 NUBAA.org.

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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Telling It Like It Was: A Pictorial Review of The NUBAA 5K Race for Diversity

NUBAA has always had great programming. One of our four quarterly Anchor Events over the last four years was The NUBAA 5K Race for Diversity, including the 9th and 10th editions of the event. The Race included the 5K Walk/Run, a 1 miles fun run/walk for kids and a campus tour featuring kids from Chicago and Evanston. We were thrilled to include participation from other national clubs from the Northwestern Alumni Association, including LANU, NUGALA, and NUMBALUMS.

Enjoy over 100 pictures in the below slideshows from the 2016 and 2015 events. Pictures and videos from older 5K Race to Diversity events are also stored on NUBAA.org.



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Special thanks to Scott Montgomery and Domonique McCord for able leadership of the 5K Race to Diversity over the years! Go Cats!

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