Documenting the African American Experience at Northwestern University

Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, will soon have a permanent exhibition space documenting the lives of Black students, faculty, and alumni at the university. Materials donated by Northwestern alumni will be used in exhibits in University Libraries and at the Black House, where major renovations are planned to create spaces to celebrate Black culture and the community.

Jeffrey Sterling, president of the Northwestern University Black Alumni Association, notes “we will have a living, breathing archive that helps encourage and motivate students, community members and alumni to engage with Northwestern and support each other.”

Jabbar Bennett, associate provost and chief diversity officer at Northwestern, adds that “chronicling the history of Black people at Northwestern honors their presence at our institution and solidifies their role and legacy in the often untold but full story of the American experience.”

Charla Wilson will join the staff at Northwestern University Libraries as the inaugural Archivist for the Black Experience. She was on the staff of the Barona Cultural Center and Museum of California. Earlier, she worked at the Women’s Museum of California.

Wilson is a graduate of Scripps College in Claremont, California. She holds a master’s degree in education from Claremont Graduate University and a master’s degree in history from California State University, San Marcos.

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