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.

Contents 

Introduction

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 bit.ly/NUVisions. 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: 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.

FINANCIAL AID

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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!

MENTORING

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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.

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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.

ADVOCACY

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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.

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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 NUBAA.org).

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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 NUBAA.org

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In 2014, in the midst of much to do and much to say, the NUBAA administration was seeking for means to connect with the thousands of members and supporters of the Northwestern Black alumni community. Armed with a ton of ideas, we approached Northwestern to ask for alteration of the official alumni communication vehicle, Our Northwestern, to accommodate our needs. When that proved not to be possible, we developed our own vehicle to communicate directly to our membership on matters of importance.

NUBAA.org is organized to provide one click access to everything you need to know as follows (links are active):

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  • BUY NUBAA: This link provides you with access to NUBAA shirts, sweaters, pens and other paraphernalia as made available for the price of donations to our various scholarship funds.
  • GIVE NUBAA: This link takes you to the official Northwestern University giving portal for NUBAA’s three main scholarship funds.
  • JOIN NUBAA: This link allows you to obtain your dues-free membership. Try it. The entire process takes about 90 seconds!
  • PARTICIPATE NUBAA: This link allows you to register for the next NUBAA event.
  • READ NUBAA: This link takes you to the scroll of blog posts and other relevant information about and coming from NUBAA and Northwestern.
  • SEE NUBAA: This link takes you to our photo and video buckets. These collections include tens of thousands of pictures, organized by events and class years. They are currently being updated to include all the activities of the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the 1968 Bursar’s Office Takeover.

Equally as important, NUBAA.org has served to inform, organize and galvanize our members and supporters.

  • NUBAA.org has proven pivotal in growing and maintaining our membership base, which has exploded to almost 5000 members.
  • NUBAA.org was pivotal in getting alumni involved in the successful effort to push back proposed changes to services within The Black house in 2015.
  • NUBAA.org continues to evolve as the online site of the NUBAA Archives.

We are proud that NUBAA.org has grown to have over 2600 followers. Inside the site, look for the follow button, add your email address, and you will receive an email whenever a new blog post is made. The NUBAA.org landing page currently features activities from the Commemoration but is being updated for even better functionality and a fresh look. This is where you come to stay in the know and where NUBAA tells it like it is! Go Cats!

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FMO and NUBAA Presents “FMO@50: FMO Leaders from 1967 to 2018”

FMO AND NUBAA presents FMO@50 | FMO Leaders from 1967 to 2018
The Northwestern University Black Alumni Association and For Members Only are proud to honor For Members Only leaders from 1967 to the Present with FMO@50, a photo and student documentary exhibition. These leaders gave their time and resources to organize and inspire Black excellence at Northwestern. The photo exhibit extends through every level of the Black House and shares memories of many of the administrations highlights.
The exhibit will also have a video display featuring student film work from FMO Coordinator Asadah Kirkland produced in 1992 compiled with a 2012 short film highlighting the activities of FMO lead by Tyris Jones. These brilliant documentaries feature Northwestern Black leaders, students, staff and faculty including Jerre Michelin, James Turner and Dr. Ulysses “Duke” Jenkins!!
Where: The Black House 1914 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL
When: May 3, 2018 – June 16, 2018
Exhibition Curators: Debra Blade, Charla Wilson, Kasey Brown, Lauren Lowery

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NUBAA Documentary on the 1968 Bursar’s Office Takeover – Sample Trailer and Production Team Announcement

Allow us to introduce you to the filmmaking team selected to produce our first documentary around the events of the 1968 Bursar’s Office Takeover at Northwestern University. Digital Café is a full service, Chicago-based video production company based in Chicago.

Digital Café will craft the story about the 1968 Black student takeover of the Bursar’s office (The Takeover), including events leading up to the event and the subsequent impact on Black student life, the NU administration and its surrounding communities. The documentary will be a 60 to 90-minute documentary film package from conception to completion that will capture compelling stories of students and others that contributed to, participated and were affected by The Takeover. The film will be premiered at the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the 1968 Takeover of the Bursar’s Office, during the weekend of May 3rd-7th. Details will follow.

To view a mock-up sample movie footer, enjoy the following:

Proposal Trailer

Thank you to all the additional filmmakers for universally excellent submissions offered for this project. Special thanks to Northwestern University for their support and collaboration in this effort. #GoCats

From the Vice-President of Student Affairs: An Update on Black Student Satisfaction

Black Student Satisfaction – A Summary of Recommendations and a Prioritized Action Plan

Northwestern University remains committed to creating a positive Black Student experience on our campus. Over the past four years, beginning with the program review for Multicultural Student Affairs, and incorporating information and recommendations from community dialogues, listening sessions, the Black Student Experience Task Force report, and the Black House Facility Review Committee, we continue to make progress.

The groups of individuals who contributed their time and energy were convened to address continued concern regarding the Black and African-American student experience at Northwestern. They explored a number of issues, including:

  • the Black House, its use and purpose;
  • spaces throughout campus;
  • programs and services;
  • community;
  • campus culture and climate;
  • historical data;
  • satisfaction;
  • and academic experience.

This document summarizes the initiatives that were identified, where we are with each initiative, and discusses next steps. Note that the report from which the item came is listed on the left side of the table, using the following key:

  • BSETF = Black Student Experience Task Force
  • Facility = Black House Facility Review Committee
  • MSA = Multicultural Student Affairs Program Review

The intent of this action plan is to implement a multipronged approach that combines a number of these recommendations to better serve our Black and African-American students. We appreciate the involvement of students, faculty, staff and alumni that contributed to these objectives.

You can download the Black Student Satisfaction report here. (PDF)

Completed

The following table summarizes the initiatives that have already been completed, or that have been completed but remain ongoing items on which the university will continue to focus efforts.

TABLE 1: INITIATIVES COMPLETED OR COMPLETED & ON-GOING

REPORT ITEM STATUS
Facility Create a keycard/Wildcard entry system Completed Summer 2016
Facility Update technology software and hardware in the study room Completed Spring 2015
Facility Upgrade the resource center Completed Spring 2015
MSA Build faculty/staff relationships in the ethnic studies department Completed and Ongoing
MSA Recognize student organizations through Campus Life Completed Fall 2015
MSA Communicate frequently and intentionally to the university community Completed and Ongoing
Facility Develop a mechanism for iPad rental Completed (Libraries)
Facility Have Graduate Students in Residence Completed and Ongoing
Facility Develop programs that promote community engagement Ongoing

In Progress

The following items are currently being addressed by the university. As these items are completed, they will move to the “Completed” section above.

TABLE 2: INITIATIVES THAT ARE IN-PROGRESS

REPORT ITEM STATUS
Facility Add flat screen monitors to the Black House for announcements and NUBBAA archival information In Progress
BSETF Provide more support for the National Pan-Hellenic Council and Multicultural Greek Council organizations In Progress
BSETF Challenge the members of [predominantly white] fraternities and sororities at Northwestern and the designated leaders of these organizations to examine the culture of their community and explore ways to ensure they are more welcoming and inclusive In Progress
MSA Help students develop skills in understanding intersecting/multiple identities, interpersonal relationships, and collaborations within and across groups In Progress
MSA Build inclusive communities across the University under which all identities can be welcomed and served In Progress
MSA Build intercultural competencies and leadership skills In Progress
BSETF Review Wildcat Welcome and identify ways it can be more inclusive and welcoming for African American and Black students In Progress
MSA Retain space for under-represented students to gather study, socialize, and find comfort In Progress
Facility [In the Black House] overhaul HVAC, upgrade the electrical panel, install an elevator, soundproof a portion of the basement, soundproof a performance space and add a piano and lighting In Progress
Facility Add charging stations and outlets In Progress
BSETF Regularly provide University administrators with analyzed student persistence and success data from a centralized office so that informed strategic and proactive early intervention efforts can be implemented to serve our students throughout their undergraduate careers In Progress
Facility Identify space for proper receipt and temporary storage of memorabilia In Progress
MSA Re-establish an advisory council consisting of current students, alumni, faculty and administrators whose participation will help shape new programs In Progress
BSETF Create more pre-orientation opportunities, curricular and co-curricular, for students to build relationships early on with peers, faculty and staff In Progress
Facility Develop programs that promote community engagement In Progress
BSETF Get to know and listen to Black students regularly, not just in times of crisis. This includes increasing faculty/student interaction, student interaction with those in administrative and staff positions and interaction with academic advisers In Progress
Facility Install way-finding signage that offers historical perspectives and purposes of rooms In Progress
MSA Make NU more welcoming In Progress
MSA Develop metrics which assess the effectiveness of MSA’s programs and activities In Progress
Facility Feature the Black House prominently on campus tours, and use it as a recruitment tool for students and faculty In Progress
BSETF Conduct a cultural audit of all Northwestern buildings and spaces to ensure they are representative of the diversity that exists within the University community In Progress
MSA Partner with other departments under Student Engagement to assist them in incorporating cultural competency training in their programs In Progress
BSETF Create initiatives to support African American and Black undergraduate women In Progress
MSA Be proactive rather than reactive to advocate for students In Progress
MSA Locate CIC staff in one place, or in close proximity In Progress
BSETF Embed opportunities into the fabric of Northwestern where students learn about and are challenged to wrestle with issues of diversity, social inequalities, social justice and inclusion In Progress for Student Affairs
Facility Update printing station In Progress
Facility Create a Black House advisory board In Progress
Facility Establish NUBAA archives In Progress
BSETF Increase the number of Black students, faculty and staff In Progress

Under Review

The following items are currently under review, or no action has been taken on the item at this time. Items in this section will continue to be reviewed in order to determine how best to address the concern at a future date.

TABLE 3: INITIATIVES THAT ARE UNDER REVIEW OR NO ACTION TAKEN

REPORT ITEM STATUS
MSA Provide academic advising by school or major as a resource in the Black House Under Review
BSETF Require a course in diversity and inclusion Under Review
Facility Create a research institute that produces, administers and studies cultural competency/power and privilege training for faculty and staff. Incentivize faculty participation in the training. Heavily recommend or require training for staff and teaching assistants Under Review
BSETF Create a center of leadership training in the Black House No Action Taken
BSETF Provide multiple options for space where students can socialize (Norris, Parkes and the Great Room) Under Review
Facility Create an Academic Support Hub, a physical location, where students can easily access tutoring and other academic support services. These services may currently exist at Northwestern, but they are spread across campus and are not well known by students Under Review
MSA Transform the Black House into a cultural and intellectual center No Action Taken
Facility Involve faculty in advising and programming Under Review
BSETF Create a Scholars-in-Residence Program Under Review
Facility Intentionally plan and implement programs through which African American/Black students can connect with older students Under Review
Facility Collaborate with NUBAA to host a campaign to solicit memorabilia and stories Under Review
MSA Have the Director of African American Student Affairs reside on the third floor No Action Taken
Facility Coordinate services and programs with The International Office and The Graduate School to better meet the needs of students Under Review
Facility Re-institute an associate dean-level position for African American Student Affairs No Action Taken
Facility Make space for a NUBAA Archives display in the northwest corner of the second floor Under Review

Next Steps

The university will continue to make progress on these initiatives over the coming year. Quarterly updates about progress will be shared and posted to this website. Three subcommittees, as recently announced by the Provost, Vice President for Student Affairs, and the Associate Provost and Chief Diversity Officer, have been formed and will begin their work over the next year on the following three areas:

  • Increase the number of Black Students, Faculty, and Staff (chaired by Jabbar R. Bennett, Associate Provost and Chief Diversity Officer)
  • Create and Academic Hub (liaison is Ron Braeutigam, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education)
  • Listen to Black Students (chaired by Kelly Schaefer, Assistant Vice President for Student Engagement)

Conclusion

It is our goal to make progress on behalf of our students and Northwestern University. As Northwestern is committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive and dynamic environment, we look forward to the positive impacts these actions will have on our community.