“A Home Away From Home: The George A. Jackson Black Cultural Center”

 

 

 

Certificate of Incorporation, August 18, 1969.

With President Parks and the University’s decision to not fund the Black Cultural Center, supports formed Black Cultural Center, Inc. On August 18, 1969, this organization was formally incorporated and registered with the state of Iowa with a board consisting of William Bell, Associate Dean of Students; Neil Harl, ISU Economics Professor; and Judge Luther Glanton, Jr. The organization served as a non-profit to raise funds and mange the operations of the center. The organization led the fundraising that would go to the purchase of a house at 517 Welch Ave. to be the home of the Black Cultural Center (BCC), a property that still is the BCC’s home today. It wasn’t until 1996 that the BCC was officially recognized as an organization affiliated with the University. 

Black Cultural Center, RS 7/5/4, box 1, folder 3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

B.C.C. (Black Cultural Center) Rap Line newsletter

In October of 1975, the BCC produced its first publication Rap Line, a newsletter which highlighted campus activities, regional activities, and short articles. The next month they rolled out Rap Update, a bulletin to keep students abreast of activities between issues of Rap Line. Over time Rap Line would expand its content to focus on social issues, poems, announcements, and interviews. 

Document: Rap Line, October 1, 1975. Black Cultural Center, RS 7/5/4, box 2, folder 8. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julian Bond at the 1976 Black Perspectives in Contemporary America Symposium

The BCC operated as a stand-alone, private nonprofit with no official ties to Iowa State University until 1997, but often worked with the BSO and Minority Student Affairs/Multicultural Student Affairs to sponsor programming. Events such as Black Cultural Week, Black Awareness Week, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and symposiums all garnered support and sponsorship from the BCC. This photo is of Julian Bond at the Black Perspectives in Contemporary America Symposium in 1976 in which he gave a speech titled “What’s Next” in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.

Document: Black Cultural Center, RS 7/5/4, box 1, folder 11. 

 

 

 

 

Letter to BSO President Larry Salter from ISU President W. Robert Parks

At a Council on Student Affairs meeting on September16, 1969 , BSO President Larry Salter read a proposal, accompanied by other Black students, and then walked out of the meeting. The proposal called for ISU and President Parks to fund the purchase of a property for the BCC and set deadlines to meet certain expectations. Salter and the BSO claimed ISU administrators had promised to fund the BCC, but the administrators denied that.

A few days later, ISU President W. Robert Parks wrote to Mr. Salter and stated that the university couldn't provide money for the funding of the organization or purchasing of property to house the Center. He did urge student, faculty, staff, alumni, and the general public to help raise funds. 

Document Citation:

Letter to Larry Salter, President BSO, Concerning funding of BCC, September 19, 1969.

W. Robert Parks Papers, RS 2/11, box 26, folder 38. 

More about the current exhibition

Iowa State University Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) presents “A Home Away From Home: The George A. Jackson Black Cultural Center” an exhibition to recognize the 2020 50th Anniversary of the George A. Jackson Black Cultural Center. The exhibition will be open through the end of 2021. It contains correspondence, photos, event programs, and newsletters showing the work of the BSO to gain recognition and establish the George A. Jackson Black Cultural Center.

Contacts 

Greg Bailey, University Library Special Collections and University Archives, University Archivist, 515-294- 4216 or gtbailey@iastate.edu

Rachel Seale, University Library Special Collections and University Archives Outreach Archivist 515-294-5311 or rmseale@iastate.edu