OSU’s Black Cultural Center, Historical Records: 1974-1984

BCC Binder (the original is on the left and the display copy is on the right)


When new material comes to the OMA, it is always an interesting experience to assess the contents, organize it, and make it accessible. This is the case with the new material received from both the OSU Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center (BCC) and the Memorial Union. The material from the BCC is all in a binder that includes materials from 1974 to 1980. Encompassed in its content are contracts, meeting minutes, inventory, correspondence, and position descriptions all pertaining to the Black Cultural Center. The material from the Memorial Union is a folder labeled “Black Cultural Center” that came as an addition to the Memorial Union Records collection (when the campus cultural centers were first established, they reported to the Memorial Union). The BCC folder includes subject matters such as vandalism, the establishment of the Asian Cultural Center, the BCC Lonnie B. Harris name change, the Black Youth of America, and BCC events ranging from 1974 to 1984.

The contents of the BCC binder produced an interesting task because the BCC wanted to keep the original materials for the Center’s use, therefore, the organization and original format needed to be retained. Because the binder’s condition is unfit for constant use, I also created a display binder identical to the original (with the added MU collection materials at the end) for patrons of the BCC to use rather than risk the condition of the original. This entailed creating a PDF of the materials by scanning all the documents which then allowed me to create a completely usable, identical binder for the BCC while also enabling OMA researchers to use these materials via a digital, full text searchable PDF.

“OSU Black Cultural Center Historical Records 1974-1984” – copy and paste this link into your browser https://oregondigital.org/concern/documents/df724k62h

These materials contribute to a rich history of Oregon State University’s Black Cultural Center. Because of its importance, the BCC is retaining the materials while enabling researchers to fully realize its research potential through the online version, thus maintaining the history of such an important center.

~ Avery Sorensen, OMA Student Worker

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