Northwestern drops $4.5 million to renovate its 'Black House'

Northwestern University has committed $4.5 million to upgrading “Black House” — its center for Black students.

This move comes as American academia establishes more cultural centers and engages in what experts call “neo-segregation.”

Northwestern University is spending $4.5 million to upgrade “Black House” — its multicultural center for Black students.

As described in Northwestern Magazinestudents originally demanded the creation of a “Black House” in 1968 as “a place to be used for social and recreational activities.” At the time, Black students said that they had “nothing at Northwestern to call our own.”

More than five decades later and in the wake of similar activism, Northwestern has nearly completed the major renovation. The school allocated $4.5 million for the project, according to ABC 7 News.

The renovations were conducted by GMA, a construction company founded by a Black Northwestern alumnus. 

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”It is a refuge for our Black students, it is a space that Black students, Black alum fought for,” said Lesley-Ann Brown Henderson, acting chief of staff for student affairs at Northwestern University, in an interview with ABC 7.

Henderson added that the cries for Black House’s establishment in 1968 was much like “the rally cries of Black lives matter that we’re hearing today.”

As student newspaper The Daily Northwestern reports, the school’s administration is seeking to open the renovated center by June. According to an email sent to students, Black graduating seniors will receive attendance priority.

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“As we look ahead to the spring — and as we approach the one-year mark of student, staff and faculty calls for change — we reaffirm our University-wide commitments to social justice,” adds the email.

Since the rapid growth and activity of of the Black Lives Matter movement in the summer of 2020, American colleges and universities have continually established campus centers intended specifically for individual racial affinity groups, thereby engaging in what critics call “neo-segregation.”

[RELATED: UPenn diversity initiative is ‘straightforward neo-segregation,’ critic says]

As Campus Reform recently reported, the University of Pennsylvania announced the opening of a “permanent shared space for Black student-athletes” on its campus. 

More recently, Columbia University announced that in addition to its main graduation, it would offer several segregated commencement ceremonies for particular racial and sexual groups.

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Campus Reform has reached out to Northwestern University for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.