History of the Africana Center

During the fall of 1969, the Afro-American Cultural Center opened in Carpenter House. While serving as one of the campus' coeducational residence facilities, the Center also consisted of a director and office staff that helped to plan educational, academic and social programs for the Tufts black student population. The mission of the Center, according to one of its early directors, was to "help the students whom it serves to understand their responsibility as students to themselves, to their families and to their nation." During its early years, the Center sponsored public lectures, art shows, panel discussions, film series, career consultation and advising workshops, and academic support programs. Among its early accomplishments was the Center's co-sponsoring of the National Black Solidarity Conference, a weeklong series of meetings, lectures and plenary sessions that brought national as well as local activists, scholars and spokespersons to Tufts in the spring of 1976. From the first directors, William Wright and Allen Colon to the mid 1970s, the African American Center, renamed in 1977, continued its original intent and sought to reach out to more members of the campus community.

Located in Capen House since 1977, the Center continues to create a supportive and welcoming environment through the promotion of the traditions and history of people of African descent. Renamed the Africana Center in 2001 to more accurately portray the diversity of the members of Tufts' African Diaspora, it works with students, faculty, and staff across ethnicities, nationalities, gender, and sexual orientation to celebrate, recognize, and honor the significant contributions of people of African descent to Tufts and the community at large.