Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
African American Center, 1969
Founded in 1969, the African American Center offers a variety of academic, cultural, and student service programs designed to encourage and support the intellectual and personal growth of African American and other Tufts undergraduates. The center sponsors lectures, workshops, concerts, and films that reflect and celebrate the intellectual, cultural, and spiritual traditions of the African diaspora.
The center is located in Capen House on the Medford campus. Administrative offices for the African American Center, as well as a small library and conference room, are located on the first floor of the house. The second and third floors serve as a residence for students interested in African American culture. Residents of Capen House each complete a project that reflect and celebrates the cultural heritage of the African diaspora. These projects are presented annually as part of the Capen House Diaspora Project Series.
The African American Center administers a number of programs. In August the center sponsors the Black Student Orientation Retreat on Cape Cod, to welcome students of color and acquaint them with the resources available to them as part of the Tufts community. In December, the Center, in conjunction with the Pan-African Alliance, the Tufts Black student organization, coordinates a celebration of Kwanzaa. February's activities center around celebration of Black History Month, with a variety of speakers and events. Throughout the year the center sponsors, with the Department of Music and the Dean of Arts and Humanities, a series of lectures and performances called At Place Congo. The series features scholars and performers whose work explores the music and culture of African Americans.
For students, the center sponsors the Black Men's Group and the Black Women's Group, ongoing support/discussion groups which meet regularly to discuss issues of interest and concern. The director of the center provides an outside facilitator and appoints a student asistant from each of these groups to ensure their continuation and efficacy.