Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale University 50th Anniversary

Celebrating 50 Years

The Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale University (“the House”) commemorated its 50th anniversary throughout the academic year 2019-20. However, due to COVID-19, we had to postpone our culminating events to April 29 - May 1, 2022. With a theme of “Renaissance & Revolution: Celebrating 50 Years of the Afro-American Cultural Center’s Legacy at Yale & Beyond,” these events recognize the historical significance of this great institution and the invaluable intellectual, professional, and cultural contributions made by its members to the University community and society at large. Related events also encourage reflection on the House’s future as an exemplary Black cultural center that empowers and prepares its students for success in an increasingly complex and diverse world.

On this page, please find and watch some of the sessions that commemorate that history and celebrate this legacy. The videos are immediately below, with full session descriptions illuminated in more detail further down the page.

Session Information

Civic Engagement

From its founding, the House has been a place where people come together for community and solidarity, as well as a place to work collectively toward social change on campus and across the world. Our alumni continue to carry the Founders’ spirit in their civic engagement and justice work in service of causes that matter to them and to our broader community. This plenary session brings together campus and alumni leaders who work to build a better, different world as they discuss the challenges they have faced and overcome, what they see for the future, and how we get there.

Featured speakers: Eleanor Holmes Norton ’64 LLB, Sheila Jackson Lee ’72, Cornell William Brooks ’90 JD, Jaime Harrison ’98
Moderator: Kurt Schmoke ’71


Founders’ Roundtable

The founders of the Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale did more than build the first Black cultural center on any Ivy League campus; they created a vision for Black life at Yale that endures 50 years later. Learn from these pioneers and House leaders to explore how the Founders' vision has been realized and what they see as the future of the House and university Black cultural centers.

Panelists: Ralph Dawson ’71, Shirley L. Daniels ’72, Ruth Chamblee ’83, Titilayo Ngwenya ’92, Casey Gerald ’09
Moderator: Muhammad Abdullah ’70


Media & Journalism

Over the last few decades, the internet, social media, and changing business models have reshaped the field of journalism and the broader media industry. Panelists will discuss how these changes have affected the shape and substance of related careers, the heights they’ve reached along the way and lessons they’ve learned, and whether these shifts provide new opportunities or greater limitations for those now entering the field.

Panelists: Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. ’84, Nick Chiles ’86, Monica Drake ’94, Cherise Fisher ’94, Wesley Morris ’97
Moderator: Rohan Preston ’89


Public Service

Public service is sometimes described as both a career and a calling. The panelists will discuss how they chose their path in public service and made it a successful one, how they see the sector shifting in an era of changing attitudes toward government and increased polarization, and what we can expect to see going forward for the public servants of today and tomorrow.

Panelists: Gary Franks ’75, Jason Green ’08 JD, Rhiana Gunn Wright ’11, Ikenna Nzewi ’17
Moderator: Richard Albert ’00, ’03 JD


Politics & Business

The African Diaspora reaches every corner of the globe! Hear from our alumni who work around the world in order to connect people across the Diaspora about their experiences working in politics and business, what it means to them to be successful global citizens, and what an increasingly interconnected world means for international work and global leadership.

Panelists: Bisa Williams ’76, William Kennard ’81 JD, Maxine Williams ’91
Moderator: Wabantu Hlophe ’18


Arts & Culture

Hear from our alumni who have made strides in the arts, education, and social entrepreneurship across the world to connect people across the African Diaspora. Panelists will discuss their career paths and how they have worked to explore and expand the notions of Blackness – our shared histories, cultures, and futures – from a global perspective.

Panelists: Ruth Botsio ’09, Constance Collins ’11, Kevin Olusola ’11, Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey ’18 PhD
Moderator: Dean Kymberly Pinder ’95 PhD


AFAM50 Events and Livestream Recordings

Throwback photo of African-American men in a Yale doorwayIf you were unable to attend the 50th anniversary celebration, or want to relive the events and programming, visit the events page of the AFAM50 website or click on the links below:

Share Your Memories

Afro-American Cultural Center at YaleJoin us in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale!

Share a meaningful memory from your time on campus, words of encouragement for future Yalies, or how The House shaped who you are today.

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