22 August–15 December SLATER CONCOURSE AIDEKMAN ARTS CENTER/Medford
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF BLACK EXCELLENCE AT TUFTS: Student-Facing, Student-Focused
In 1954, the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision was passed down, deeming the notion of “separate but equal” in education as unconstitutional. This announcement began a wave of social change that would hit universities all over the country for the next few decades: Black students demanding a stronger presence and better support on campus. Tufts University, like many schools in New England, were pushed to provide safe spaces and support around identities in the form of cultural and identity-based centers—hence, the Africana Center (formally known as Afro-American, African American Center) was born.
The 1969 inception of the Africana Center was a catalyst for even more progressive change on campus, amplifying the voices of student-activists who called for improved university-wide support—both for themselves and for their peers. Generations of demonstrations on campus have led to the hiring of more faculty and staff of color; the creation of the Africana Studies program and the SQUAD Pre-Orientation program; increased funding for student support; and much more. Importantly, the Center continues to focus on improving ongoing challenges around student communication and
engagement, which stem from years of past wrongs—whether perceived or real—and to work closely with the University’s administrative and academic offices on issues of interest to students, advocating tirelessly on their behalf.
This exhibit is a comprehensive look at the Africana Center’s efforts over the past five decades to be both student-facing and student-focused. To be student-facing is to provide a deep and broad range of support directly to students in the Tufts’ Africana community. To be student-focused is to be a strong voice for students—collaborating with Tufts administration, admissions, faculty and staff to create a more inclusive and equitable experience for all. It takes everyone in the community, from all sides, working together to decrease the risk of future student discord and create a safe haven for students through the Africana Center, where they have resources and support for their everyday campus-life issues.
Organized by Katrina Moore, director of the Africana Center; Domonique T. Johnson, program manager of the Africana Center; and Graduate Fellow Kristen Valenti AG19.