Guide to the Records of the Department of African-American Student Affairs

Collection Title: Records of the Department of African-American Student Affairs
Dates: 1966-2001
Identification: 30/15
Creator: Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). Department of African American Student Affairs
Extent: 3 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: The Records of the Department of African American Student Affairs (AASA), filling three boxes and spanning the years 1966 to 2001, contain valuable information on the development of the Black community at Northwestern University. The bulk of the records consist of historical information and materials relating to organizations, programs, and events under the sponsorship of the office.

The Historical Records of the Office of African American Student Affairs (AASA) date from ca. 1968 and constitute the agreements between the faculty, administration, and the community, and state the ideology behind the founding of the organization. The Administration records date from ca.1976, and hold lists of Northwestern's black administrators, a draft of the Hearing and Appeals Board, and an activity report from 1978.

General Lists of black students are included from 1966 to1973, as well as lists of black students by department from 1974 to 1976, and a black student directory from 1975-1976. The records documenting the “New Black House” range from 1972 to 1973. Included is correspondence relating to the costs of remodeling the facility, furniture, and floor plans.

Brochures describe the AASA facility (the House), services, programming, and student organizations under the umbrella of the Office of African American Student Affairs. Clippings date from 1966 to 2001, mostly from The Daily Northwestern and other area papers, and start with the emergence of black students at Northwestern University. Articles about the House and cultural programs are included in addition to coverage of racial conflict on campus. Press Releases announce new academic positions, events, and activities dating from 1973 to 1982.

Topics in the General Correspondence file span the years 1969 to 1974, and run the gamut from admissions, student issues, and administration, to the House, programs, and internships. The correspondence from 1981-1999 is very sparse. Reports and Statistics relate to the academic progress of Black students, administration relationships with Black students, and the distribution of financial aid during the period between 1965 and 1979.

The African American Music Alliance file records the administration and activities of the student group in 1996. The African American Student Affairs Advisory Council contains the year-end report of the Council for 1994-1995. Records pertaining to Black Athletes Uniting for the Light (BAUL), an organization that protects the rights of Black athletes at Northwestern University, are dated from 1968 to 1980. A scrapbook documenting the 1980 scandal involving a past Northwestern football coach, Rick Venturi and player, Dana Hemphill dominates the file. Blackboard, first published by FMO ca. 1971, is the magazine for and by the Black student community. The file includes correspondence and records from 1999-2000 relating to financing and publishing the magazine. These For Members Only (FMO) records from 1968 to 1992 contain a copy of the FMO policy statement, student correspondence, and various proposals. The Northwestern Community Ensemble records consist of the operational correspondence and financial planning of their programs. The Northwestern University Black Alumni Association records include a sampling correspondence about the formation and operation of the organization from 1976-1997.
Acquisition Information: These records were transferred to the University Archives by James Britt of the Office of African American Student Affairs on October 20, 2003, as Accession No. 03-191. Additional records were added to this series by Jerre Michlin of the Office of African American Student Affairs on May 4, 2004, as Accession No. 04-63 and by Karla Spurlock-Evans, formerly of the Office of African American Student Affairs on May 4, 2004, as Accession No. 04-65.
Processing Information: Sheryl Orlove and Liora Cobin; Spring 2004.Rachel C. Teuer; July 9, 2004.
Separated Materials: Approximately six inches of duplicate materials was discarded. A number of photographs were transferred to the University Archives Photograph Collection, and a number of serials were transferred to the University Archives Serials Collection. Materials unrelated to the Department of African American Student Affairs were added to the University Archives General Files (Record Group 11).
Conditions Governing Access: Permission to view “Incident Reports and Disciplinary Reports” file must be obtained from the University Archivist.
Related Materials: See also: University Archives Student Activities General Files (especially FMO files) and Serial Publications such as Blackboard (Call# 31/00/027 and online).
Repository: Northwestern University Archives
Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
URL: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/archives
Email: archives@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-491-3354

Biographical/Historical Information

The history of the Department of African American Student Affairs (AASA) at Northwestern University dates back to the mid-1960s.  A Black Student wrote a letter to the Northwestern Daily protesting the low enrollment of African-American students in the University. In response, 54 Black freshmen enrolled in the University for the fall of 1966.   The University used funding from the Wieboldt Foundation and support from the Higher Education Act of 1965, to institute a program called the Summer Academic Workshop (SAW) to encourage African American student enrollment and familiarize the new students with college life. 

Concern about African-American student enrollment at Northwestern University prompted a decision to recruit in Black urban areas, mostly in Chicago.  By 1973, the number of Black students rose significantly and represented approximately 10% of the undergraduate population.  Despite increased success recruiting African-American students, Northwestern University remained unaware of the challenges and consequences of integrating black students into the University’s social structure.  The curriculum and social life on campus failed to recognize the different perspectives or the social and cultural needs of the new black student population. 

The shocking assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in April of 1968, led to a strong will for change.  In May of 1968, 110 of 120 black students on campus took over the Bursar’s Office, and presented Northwestern with a list of demands.  An agreement was reached and Northwestern increased the number of admissions to reflect the percentage of African Americans in the national population, introduced Black studies courses into the curriculum, and a created a headquarters for Black students to congregate and engage in their own social, political, and cultural activities under the administration of the Vice President for Student Affairs.

The facility the students won was popularly known as the House.  The first location of the House was at 619 Emerson, and in 1972-73, it was moved to larger quarters at 1914 Sheridan Road. The office located in the House was first named Minority Student Affairs, and had one professional staff member.  The name was changed to the Department of African American Student Affairs (AASA) in 1973.

The mission of the AASA is to support the completion of undergraduate academic programs by African Americans and Black students, and foster a positive sense of community at Northwestern University.

The Department of African American Student Affairs (AASA) has overseen the operations of many organizations on campus, including For Members Only (FMO), Black Greek organizations, the Northwestern Community Ensemble, Black Athletes Uniting for the Light (BAUL) and Northwestern University Black Alumni Association.  AASA also administered University programs including the Summer Academic Workshop.  Popular events during this time included Black History/Liberation Month, A Musical Evening with Our Elders, Brown Bag Lunches, and the Christmas Bazaar.

Scope and Content

The Records of the Department of African American Student Affairs (AASA), filling three boxes and spanning the years 1966 to 2001, contain valuable information on the development of the Black community at Northwestern University. The bulk of the records consist of historical information and materials relating to organizations, programs, and events under the sponsorship of the office.

The Historical Records of the Office of African American Student Affairs (AASA) date from ca. 1968 and constitute the agreements between the faculty, administration, and the community, and state the ideology behind the founding of the organization. The Administration records date from ca. 1976, and hold lists of Northwestern's black administrators, a draft of the Hearing and Appeals Board, and an activity report from 1978.

General Lists of black students are included from 1966 to1973, as well as lists of black students by department from 1974 to 1976, and a black student directory from 1975-1976. The records documenting the “New Black House” range from 1972 to 1973. Included is correspondence relating to the costs of remodeling the facility, furniture, and floor plans.

Brochures describe the AASA facility (the House), services, programming, and student organizations under the umbrella of the Office of African American Student Affairs. Clippings date from 1966 to 2001, mostly from The Daily Northwestern and other area papers, and start with the emergence of black students at Northwestern University. Articles about the House and cultural programs are included in addition to coverage of racial conflict on campus. Press Releases announce new academic positions, events, and activities dating from 1973 to 1982.

Topics in the General Correspondence file span the years 1969 to 1974, and run the gamut from admissions, student issues, and administration, to the House, programs, and internships. The correspondence from 1981-1999 is very sparse. Reports and Statistics relate to the academic progress of Black students, administration relationships with Black students, and the distribution of financial aid during the period between 1965 and 1979.

The African American Music Alliance file records the administration and activities of the student group in 1996. The African American Student Affairs Advisory Council contains the year-end report of the Council for 1994-1995. Records pertaining to Black Athletes Uniting for the Light (BAUL), an organization that protects the rights of Black athletes at Northwestern University, are dated from 1968 to 1980. A scrapbook documenting the 1980 scandal involving a past Northwestern football coach, Rick Venturi and player, Dana Hemphill dominates the file. Blackboard, first published by FMO ca. 1971, is the magazine for and by the Black student community. The file includes correspondence and records from 1999-2000 relating to financing and publishing the magazine. These For Members Only (FMO) records from 1968 to 1992 contain a copy of the FMO policy statement, student correspondence, and various proposals. The Northwestern Community Ensemble records consist of the operational correspondence and financial planning of their programs. The Northwestern University Black Alumni Association records include a sampling correspondence about the formation and operation of the organization from 1976-1997.

An important subset of Black student organizations are Black Sororities and Fraternities. Correspondence from 1976-1994 pertaining to managing and facilitating Black Greek life, including facilitating housing and events for Black fraternities and sororities, is included in Black Greek, General. Representatives from affiliated Black Sororities and Fraternities form the Black Greek Council, housed by the Department of African American Student Affairs. Their file includes records and correspondence reflecting the meetings and events sponsored by the Black Greek Council and crises it managed from 1974-1994. Black Greek Organizations, General contains correspondence pertaining to individual Black Greek organizations when the collection does not include a body of correspondence for that organization. Correspondence, (often relating to disciplinary difficulties within the organizations,) program materials and official publications for the individual Black Sororities Alpha Kappa Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta and the Black Fraternities Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, and Omega Psi Phi from 1984-1994 are filed separately by organization.

The Events presented by the Department of African American Student Affairs (AASA) between 1970 and 1990, are documented with flyers, programs, and schedules for events and activities. Records regarding Black History/Liberation Month/Week contain schedules, posters and flyers dating from 1977 to 1989. Flyers from the Brown Bag Lunch lecture series date from 1982 to 1985, and flyers and correspondence regarding the Christmas Bazaar range from 1979 to 1988. A Musical Evening with our Elders includes records from 1979 to 1990, starting with the first installment in 1979, starring Thomas Dorsey, Phil Cohran, Willie Dixon and Jimmy Ellis. Included are flyers, correspondence, financial records, photographs, and some biographical information on some of the performers.

The Department of African American Student Affairs participated in many University programs involving the Black Community on Campus. General Programs included the Cultural Diversity Project during new student week and the LEAD program in1990. The office also participated in the African American Exchange Program. Records include correspondence and about the program from 1976-1977. The Summer Academic Workshop was first initiated to introduce Black students to college life at Northwestern University. The records from 1975 to 1981 contain correspondence relating to the program, lists of participants, lists of staff, student evaluations of the program, schedules, and drafts of evaluation forms.

The Department of African American Student Affairs often played a role in campus-wide racial conflict. The series includes correspondence pertaining to issues surrounding Campus Police Relationship to Black Students from 1994-1995. The conflict and resulting University efforts surrounding Faculty and Student Diversity Issues in 1989 are recorded in clippings, correspondence, and reports about the issue. Struggles between the African-American campus community and the University Administration around Housing Issues are reflected in correspondence pertaining to racial problems, and also records of policy implementation in the residence halls from 1968-1972.

Student Projects, dated 1973, 1975, and undated, relate to the Black experience at Northwestern University.

As the official advocate for the needs of Black students at Northwestern University, the Office of African American Student Affairs often received copies of correspondence regarding particular incidents of conflict, particularly racial conflict, on and off campus, and the disciplining of African-American students. This correspondence from 1972-2000 is collected in Incident Reports and Disciplinary Reports.

Arrangement of Materials

Materials in each folder are arranged chronologically by date, with undated materials at the back of the folder.

Subjects

Corporate Name

Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.)--Students--Registers

Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). Department of African American Student Affairs

Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). Department of Minority Student Affairs

Subjects

African American college students--Illinois--Evanston


Container List / Contents

  • Organizations
    • African American Music Alliance, 1996Box 1, Folder 11
    • African American Student Affairs Advisory Council, 1995Box 1, Folder 12
    • BAUL (Black Athletes Uniting for the Light), 1968-1980Box 1, Folder 13
    • Blackboard, 1999-2000Box 1, Folder 14
    • FMO (For Members Only), 1968-1992Box 2, Folder 1
    • Northwestern Community Ensemble, 1972-1999Box 2, Folder 2
    • Northwestern University Black Alumni Association, 1976-1997Box 2, Folder 3
    • Black Greek, General, 1976-1994Box 2, Folder 4
    • Black Greek Council, 1974-1994Box 2, Folder 5
    • Black Greek Organizations, General, 1988-1994Box 2, Folder 6
    • Alpha Kappa Alpha, 1987-1994Box 2, Folder 7
    • Delta Sigma Theta, 1988-1994Box 2, Folder 8
    • Alpha Phi Alpha, 1984-2001Box 2, Folder 9
    • Kappa Alpha Psi, 1987-1994Box 2, Folder 10
    • Omega Psi Phi, 1989-1991Box 2, Folder 11
  • Events
    • Event Flyers and Schedules, 1970-1990Box 2, Folder 12
    • Black History/Liberation-Week/Month, 1977-1989Box 3, Folder 1
    • Brown Bag Lunch, 1982-1985Box 3, Folder 2
    • Christmas Bazaar, 1979-1988Box 3, Folder 3
    • Musical Evening with Our Elders, 1979-1990Box 3, Folder 4
    • Musical Evening with Our Elders (photographs), 1980-1981Box 3, Folder 5
  • Programs
    • General Programs, 1989-1990Box 3, Folder 6
    • African American Exchange Program, 1976-1977Box 3, Folder 7
    • Summer Academic Workshop, 1975-1977Box 3, Folder 8
    • Summer Academic Workshop, 1978-1981Box 3, Folder 9
    • Housing Issues, 1968-1972Box 3, Folder 10
    • Faculty and Student Diversity Issues and Protest, 1989Box 3, Folder 11
    • Campus Police Relationship to Black Students, 1994-1995Box 3, Folder 12
    • Student Projects, 1973, 1975, n.d.Box 3, Folder 13
    • Incident and Disciplinary Reports, Restricted, 1972-2000Box 3, Folder 14
  • Historical Data, 1968, n.d.Box 1, Folder 1
  • Administration, 1976, n.d.Box 1, Folder 2
  • Personnel, 1995, n.d.Box 1, Folder 3
  • Lists of Black Students, 1966-1976Box 1, Folder 4
  • New Black House (1914 Sheridan Rd.), 1972-1973Box 1, Folder 5
  • Brochures, n.d.Box 1, Folder 6
  • Clippings, 1966-1998Box 1, Folder 7
  • Press Releases, 1968-1982Box 1, Folder 8
  • General Correspondence, 1969-1974, 1981-1999Box 1, Folder 9
  • Reports and Statistics, 1965-1979Box 1, Folder 10