University of Delaware
Office of Public Relations
The Messenger
Vol. 5, No. 3/1996
CBC celebrates 20 years

     Listening to people who have been part of the Center for
Black Culture during its 20 years on campus is like listening to
a family reminisce after Thanksgiving dinner.
     No matter when they studied at the University of Delaware,
be it the '70s, '80s or '90s, they share common memories of the
center and describe it using  similar words:  "haven,"  "safe
place," "home away from home."
     "Over the years, the center has been a gathering place,"
says Janice Jordan, Delaware '75M, associate director of the
University's Center for Counseling and Student Development.
     "Before the center, black students didn't have anywhere else
just to be " Jordan explains. "We were a small community, and
everyone pretty much knew everyone else. Sometimes, just walking
in the center made you feel like you belonged. People have always
been able to come through the center if they're looking for
someone, and chances are that person will either be there or
someone will know where they are."
     Jordan, who came to the University in 1971 to work in the
Upward Bound program, had an office in the center in its earliest
years, when it was called the Minority Center and, later, Ujaama
     Gwen Anderson, Delaware '86, agrees. At times on campus
then, she recalls, "you could have the feeling of not belonging,
of not being wanted or heard by administrators or fellow
students, but the center was always a safe place. This was the
homestead. Whenever you had a break from classes, you'd walk in
here to relax, watch television or just talk.
     "Inside the center, all of our faces were similar," says
Anderson, an operations manager with the state of Delaware's
Department of Health and Human Resources.
     Tim Foxx, Delaware '92, echoes her sentiments, "This was a
place where you felt like you really belonged.  The people at the
center were always like family."
     Foxx, who works in the city of Wilmington, Del., planning
department, saw progressive changes at the center in the early
'90s when its mission expanded to include more campus programming
and special programs that promote student leadership.
      The idea was to use the Center for Black Culture as the
mouthpiece for the black community on campus and in the
surrounding area, through activities sponsored by the Cultural
Programming Advisory Board, he says.
     "We sponsored the first all-rap concert on campus," Foxx
recalls. "We weren't sure if the entire student body would
support it, but they did. The tickets sold out in a week, and
people of every race, creed and color showed up. Everything at
the concert and the after-party went well. We felt like that was
a turning point."
     When the interview for this story was conducted, Jordan,
Anderson and Foxx were looking excitedly toward the center's
reunion, planned for mid-April.
     Special events included an art show and panel discussion on
"The Value of African-American Art in Our Community," a luncheon
with poet Nikki Giovanni, the annual Richard Wilson Step Show and
the annual Gospelrama, featuring the University of Delaware
Gospel Choir and James Hall Worship & Praise of New York.
     But, mostly, what these members of the planning committee
were looking forward to was a chance to say hi, sit, chat and
catch up with all those "family" members they hadn't seen for
     "I think there'll be a lot of hugging and laughing that
weekend," Jordan said. "We may decide to make this 'reunion' an
annual event."
                                             -Beth Thomas