With the Africana Center celebrating its 50th anniversary in Fall 2019 with several events and an exhibit at the Tufts University Art Galleries we are highlighting the Africana Center Records as our featured collection. This group of records documents the Center's work from its founding in 1969 to its development over several decades into a provider of academic and social resources and activities for students of African descent. Some of the larger projects represented in the records include the founding of the Tufts Black Alumni Association; the organization of the freshmen orientation Cape Cod retreat; the development of the Black Student Handbook; the development of the peer advisor program; Black History Month events; and the administration of Capen House’s living and learning space.
Founded in 1969 as the Afro-American Cultural Center, the Africana Center was developed in recognition of the realities of the needs and concerns of students of African descent on a predominately white campus. The Center works to enhance the academic mission of the university by ensuring that students of African descent have access to a variety of academic, cultural, and student resources that encourage them to have a successful Tufts experience and prepare them to be leaders for a wide range of professional experiences. In addition, the Center works to ensure that students have access to all necessary resources, advises the administrative and academic offices of the university on such issues, and advocates proactively for students. Located at 8 Professors Row, the Center also serves as a living and learning space (Capen House) for fifteen undergraduates who reside in the house during the academic year. These students are selected each year to live in the dorm and work as a community to complete individual and group projects that celebrate the rich cultural heritage of people of African descent.
The Africana Center collection consists of records from the Africana Center, artifacts, photographs, publications, and subject files collected and created by the Africana Center from 1969 to 2012. The artifacts in this collection include banners created by students for Africana Center events as well as posters, a t-shirt, and buttons and a flag commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr. Photographs mainly record Africana Center events. Publications and subject files include many formats and cover a wide range of topics, including affirmative action, the Tufts Black Alumni Association, freshmen orientation, student life, Black History Month, and guest speakers and performers.