Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: HUD 3125

Records of the Harvard-Radcliffe Afro-American Cultural Center

Overview

The Harvard-Radcliffe Afro-American Cultural Center was established in 1969 as a non-profit corporation. The records document the history, activities, and interests of this organization.

Dates

  • 1969-1975, 1981-1982, and undated

Conditions Governing Access

The folder “General information” and publications published or sponsored by the Harvard-Radcliffe Afro-American Cultural Center are open for research. University records in the collection are restricted for 50 years from their date of creation. Student records in the collection are restricted for 80 years from their date of creation. Specific restrictions are noted at the folder level.

Extent

1.6 cubic feet (5 boxes)
The records document the history, activities, and interests of this organization, especially during the early years when the Center took an active role in working with groups on campus and in the wider community. Documents include newsclippings and flyers, correspondence, program and general administrative files, meeting minutes and agendas, subject files, and publications.

History of the Harvard-Radcliffe Afro-American Cultural Center

In January 1969, the Faculty Committee on African and Afro-American Studies, chaired by Henry Rosovsky, published a report on Afro-American Studies at Harvard. The Rosovsky Report, as it was known, recommended the establishment of a social and cultural center for black students. Due at least in part to this recommendation, the Harvard-Radcliffe Afro-American Cultural Center, also known as HRAACC, was established in the fall of 1969 as a non-profit corporation administratively and financially separate from Harvard University.

Initially housed at 20 Sacramento Street, the Center aimed to unify the black student community on campus, and to establish channels of communication and exchange with the wider black community. The Center was overseen by a Board of Trustees of students and community members, and a paid staff. The Center sponsored events and programs involving the community, such as the Help a Brother program and the Black Host Family project. The Center also dispensed funds to member organizations, including the Kuumba Singers,Harvard-Radcliffe Afro-American Dance Theatre, the Dennis Wiley Black Ensemble, and Black C.A.S.T. (Black Community and Student Theater or Black Community and Students Together). The Center put out several publications, including The Word, a calendar of events, and the Journal of Afro-American Affairs (previously titled the Journal of Negro Affairs). The Center worked closely with the Association for African and Afro-American Students at Harvard and Radcliffe (AFRO), with which it shared office space.

Responsible for its own fundraising, the Center faced increasing financial difficulties in 1973. In 1974, the executive director resigned. By the fall of 1974, the Center relocated to 1750 Cambridge Street and became a fully student-run organization, with some faculty advisors on its Board of Trustees. In 1978, the Center moved again. With continuing financial troubles, and struggling to stay relevant in a changing environment, the Center began working closely with the Harvard Black Students Association. The BSA, founded in 1976, shared membership with the Center. The Center began coordinating programming of the BSA and other groups. By 1979, the Center was renting space in the Phillips Brooks House. It was still registered as an undergraduate student organization in 1984, but increasingly, the role it once played was assumbed by the BSA, which grew to be an umbrella organization for black student groups.

Biographical / Historical In January 1969, the Faculty Committee on African and Afro-American Studies, chaired by Henry Rosovsky, published a report on Afro-American Studies at Harvard. The Rosovsky Report, as it was known, recommended the establishment of a social and cultural center for black students. Due at least in part to this recommendation, the Harvard-Radcliffe Afro-American Cultural Center, also known as HRAACC, was established in the fall of 1969 as a non-profit corporation administratively and financially separate from Harvard University.

Initially housed at 20 Sacramento Street, the Center aimed to unify the black student community on campus, and to establish channels of communication and exchange with the wider black community. The Center was overseen by a Board of Trustees of students and community members, and a paid staff. The Center sponsored events and programs involving the community, such as the Help a Brother program and the Black Host Family project. The Center also dispensed funds to member organizations, including the Kuumba Singers,Harvard-Radcliffe Afro-American Dance Theatre, the Dennis Wiley Black Ensemble, and Black C.A.S.T. (Black Community and Student Theater or Black Community and Students Together). The Center put out several publications, including The Word, a calendar of events, and the Journal of Afro-American Affairs (previously titled the Journal of Negro Affairs). The Center worked closely with the Association for African and Afro-American Students at Harvard and Radcliffe (AFRO), with which it shared office space.

Responsible for its own fundraising, the Center faced increasing financial difficulties in 1973. In 1974, the executive director resigned. By the fall of 1974, the Center relocated to 1750 Cambridge Street and became a fully student-run organization, with some faculty advisors on its Board of Trustees. In 1978, the Center moved again. With continuing financial troubles, and struggling to stay relevant in a changing environment, the Center began working closely with the Harvard Black Students Association. The BSA, founded in 1976, shared membership with the Center. The Center began coordinating programming of the BSA and other groups. By 1979, the Center was renting space in the Phillips Brooks House. It was still registered as an undergraduate student organization in 1984, but increasingly, the role it once played was assumbed by the BSA, which grew to be an umbrella organization for black student groups.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Received: Accession 17367; 2006 May 26, the Harvard Black Students Association.

Related Material

In the Harvard University Archives:
  1. Records of the Harvard Black Students Association: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua12008
  2. Records of the Association of African and Afro-American Students at Harvard and Radcliffe: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua08008
  3. The Sarah Anoke Collection (HUM 51)

Inventory update

This document last updated 2020 January 22.

Processing Information

Some of the records of the Harvard-Radcliffe Afro-American Cultural Center were first classified and described in the Harvard University Archives shelflist prior to 1980. In February 2008, Juliana Kuipers re-processed the material, and integrated records found in accessions. Processing involved integrating and reorganizing the collection, housing materials in the appropriate containers, establishing a series hierarchy, and creating this inventory. All call numbers were simplified.

Publications by the Center and other Harvard affliliated organizations were removed and cataloged individually by title in HOLLIS.
Link to catalog
Title
Harvard-Radcliffe Afro-American Cultural Center. Records of the Harvard-Radcliffe Afro-American Cultural Center, 1969-1975, 1981-1982, and undated : an inventory
Author
Harvard University Archives
EAD ID
hua11008

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard University Archives Repository

Holding nearly four centuries of materials, the Harvard University Archives is the principal repository for the institutional records of Harvard University and the personal archives of Harvard faculty, as well as collections related to students, alumni, Harvard-affiliates and other associated topics. The collections document the intellectual, cultural, administrative and social life of Harvard and the influence of the University as it emerged across the globe.

Contact:
Pusey Library
Harvard Yard
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-2461