Black Guide To Harvard To Be Released Soon

Bringing to a close the most extensive student investigation of black life at Harvard, the Black Students Association (BSA) announced this weekend the upcoming release of its “Black Guide to Life at Harvard.”

The guide—a 320 page project that has been a year in the making—will be officially released at a dinner on Feb. 1 celebrating the kickoff of Black History Month.

“There’s never been a project of this scope for the black community on campus,” said BSA Publications Chair Marques J. Redd ’04, one of the projects’ spearheads.

Redd, along with BSA Business Manager Allana N. Jackson ’03, Kiratiana E. Freelon ’02 and Toussaint G. Losier ’04, has been working on the guide since intersession of last year. Many other students contributed interviews, essays and reviews.

Similar to the previously released Women’s Guide to Harvard and Harvard Asian American Association’s guide, the Black Guide will combine practical listings for restaurants, hair salons and churches with in-depth historical research and essays.

The essays include profiles of famous black Harvard scholars such as W.E.B. DuBois and DuBois Professor of the Humanities and chair of the Afro-American Studies department Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr., as well as a photo history of black life at Harvard.

Student and alumni reflections also comprise a section of the Guide, as does an extensive look at the history of black activism at Harvard—from the 1969 University Hall takeover to more recent efforts to end apartheid in South Africa and to promote more diversity in the curriculum.

Although as its title suggests, the project is specifically aimed at Harvard students, its editors hope the guide’s audience will extend beyond Harvard to groups across the nation interested in African-American issues or higher education in general.

The first printing of 1,000 copies will be handed out at dinner in dining halls and at BSA meetings.

The Guide, whose cost was estimated around $9,000, was funded by a mix of alumni donations, advertising sales, and grants from the Undergraduate Council and the Harvard Foundation, according to its organizers.

—Staff writer Sarah M. Seltzer can be reached at sseltzer@fas.harvard.edu