Leona Lusk Officer Black Cultural Center Events Digital Exhibit

By Hannah O’Daniel McCallon

The Leona Lusk Officer Black Cultural Center is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year! Tennessee Tech University students, faculty, and staff founded the Black Cultural Center in 1989 to provide Black students a space to socialize, be supported, and learn about African American and African culture. The Center formally opened in August 1990.

The Tennessee Tech Archives is partnering with the Black Cultural Center to curate a series of three digital exhibits on the Center’s history and the history of African Americans at Tennessee Tech. The first exhibit in the series covers events held by the Center from 1990 to 2019. The exhibit features over 55 photographs, flyers, programs, invitations, clippings, and other documents that show the range of the Center’s programs. Topics include programs that supported Tennessee Tech students, educational events on the culture and history of people of color, prominent African Americans who spoke on campus, and alumni events. The exhibit is best viewed on devices with large screens, such as laptops and desktop computers. This exhibit is available on September 14 and can be viewed here: https://tntecharchives.omeka.net/exhibits/show/bcce

Caption: Black and white photograph of eleven attendees at an event in honor of Martin Luther King Jr in the Black Cultural Center on January 14, 1993. Source: Office of Multicultural Affairs records

Most of the materials in the exhibit are from the newly processed records of the Office of Multicultural Affairs. The records document the founding of the Leona Lusk Officer Black Cultural Center in 1989 and efforts by the university to support the personal, cultural, social, and academic growth of students from underrepresented ethnic populations. The records also include flyers and photographs of predominantly Black student organizations on campus. The finding aid for the records is available here: https://archives.tntech.edu/repositories/2/archival_objects/41738.

Caption: A scrapbook on the Black Cultural Center created in about 1999. Source: Office of Multicultural Affairs records

The Archives is using materials from multiple collections to research and curate the remaining two exhibits on the history of the Black Cultural Center and the Black experience at Tennessee Tech. We would love to feature the experiences of Black alumni and employees through oral histories, photographs, diaries, letters, or other documents. If you are interested in sharing your story about the Black Cultural Center, or your story of being a student or employee of color on campus, please contact the Archives at archives@tntec.edu!

About University Archives

Archives and Special Collections resides in Angelo and Jennette Volpe Library on the first floor. The collection includes materials of legal, fiscal and historical significance to Tennessee Tech University and documents the history of the Upper Cumberland Region. The collection includes over 2,500 cubic feet of manuscripts, photographs, and archives from Tennessee Tech as well as surrounding people, businesses, and organizations of the Upper Cumberland. The collection contains books on the history and culture of the Upper Cumberland Region of Tennessee.
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