October 2019 marks the 10th anniversary of the constitution that made the African American Alumni Association (AAAA) an official affinity group of Case Western Reserve University. The organization, however, has existed informally since the 1970s, when Stephanie Tubbs Jones and her contemporaries first hosted reunions. Today, affiliation with the university enables the association to provide ever-increasing support and networking opportunities for alumni, students and staff of African heritage.
Last year, the Kelvin Smith Library administration gave the African American Alumni Association an opportunity to capture and celebrate 50 years’ history of the Afro American Society—a student organization that started in 1968—in a pictorial display. The success last year of the AAAA display celebrating the 50th anniversary of the African American Society sparked an interest in Marilyn S. Mobley and other association members to create a permanent record of the black student presence on campus. Representatives from the AAAA, The Alumni Association, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity, Kelvin Smith Library, and others have collaborated to launch “Reflections: The Black Experience @CWRU” this fall, a digital collection of photos and stories chronicling the black student experience at CWRU.
“I’m excited to see this history preserved and made available worldwide,” said Linda Berry Wheat, AAAA communications chair. “Students and alumni will enjoy seeing those who journeyed with them and those who traveled at a different time. I hope it inspires them to add their own reflections to the record.”
Those who have photos to be considered for the display, can email them—including captions with names, dates, events, etc.—to firstname.lastname@example.org.
During homecoming weekend, students and alumni will have the opportunity to begin recording their stories to be included in the digital display.
In the future, organizers hope to curate an online webpage for students and alumni to be inspired by the experiences of alumni.