The mission of the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural
Center is to complement the academic program of studies and enrich the
quality of campus life for African and African-American students at
Oregon State University. Integral to this mission are the following
- Retention of African, African-American, and all students of color
- Provision of support services that empower and enable said students to matriculate successfully and in a timely manner
- Provision of leadership development opportunities
- Provision of a safe place for all students
- Development and promotion of events/activities that promote an
environment in which cultural diversity is valued, and the uniqueness
of the individual is respected
- Development and promotion of events/activities that educate all
students, faculty members, and the greater Corvallis community, on the
histories and issues affecting all peoples of African heritage.
The Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center came about much the same way
as many Cultural Centers around the country; through student protests,
sacrifice, relentless determination, and struggle. Students rose above
the challenges when they were put to the test. In 1968, the Black
Student Union (BSU) membership was approximately 50 Black students. In
March of 1969, Educational Opportunities Program (EOP) and
Organizations of Minority and Special Services Programs recruited 26
students of African descent and 15 other students came on their own.
During the same year the BSU declared their intention to leave OSU due to discriminatory
acts. Students boycotted classes and sporting events. In the winter of
1969, 25 Black students picked up withdrawal slips. Between 1969 and
1972, the number of students recruited by EOP increased from 50 to
approximately 125 students.
In 1970, the Office of Minority Affairs was created. Three years later, a cultural
center opened on campus for students of color. The Native Americans, Hispanics, and
Blacks collectively had a center to call their own. On April 26th, 1975, the BSU
opened a cultural center to call their own, thanks to the associated students of
OSU, the Alumni Center, and the community. After the official opening in 1975, the
BSU Cultural Center's name was changed to the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center.
Lonnie B. Harris was the first director of the EOP. He was also a member of the
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
The BCC provides the following resources for all its visitors:
- Cable television with VCR
- Stereo system
- Full kitchen, living room, and conference rooms
- A library of books on African-American topics
- A wonderful place to relax and unwind