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John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute

Committed to Excellence, Success, and Service

John D. O’Bryant “If you are not here for the students you are in the wrong place!”

Welcome Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Visitors: Habari Gani in KiSwahilli—an eastern and central African language—means “what good news do you have?” The John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute at Northeastern University has good news; it is turning toward a glorious and exciting future. The Institute, as it is endearingly called, is in a state-of-the-art facility along with dedicated leadership and staff. As an integral part of student affairs the Institute is positioned to play a significant role in supporting students as well as promote connections and relationships within Northeastern and throughout the neighboring Boston communities. The Institute—The Vision is to become a national model for African-American and African-Diaspora cultural and research centers that effectively provides service, programs and engages the community. Moreover, the Institute seeks to build toward becoming self-supporting through research, development and alumni participation. The Mission is to intellectually, culturally and socially inspire students toward excellence, success and service. Through programs, resources, services and activities the Institute fosters a nurturing, supportive and welcoming environment focused on students of African origin. The Institute has come a long way since its early days amongst the turbulent 1960s. Established in 1968, the Institute set out to develop and implement a long-range plan for a genuine, effective and permanent Black presence at Northeastern University. The student leaders, at that time, demanded scholarships, targeted courses, culturally focused programming, access to the administration and much more. The Institute’s long history of determination and progress has laid the foundation for facilitating access and constructing excellence. John O’Bryant—On May 1st of 1993, the African-American Institute was renamed the John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute in honor of Vice President of Student Affairs John D. O’Bryant, an untiring advocate for educational opportunity and excellence at Northeastern University and throughout the City of Boston. As the first African-American to be appointed a vice president at Northeastern University, John served in that capacity from 1979 until 1992. During that period, he oversaw the workings of the Institute and provided invaluable leadership in what were often difficult times. By naming the Institute in John’s honor, Northeastern honored the legacy of a man whose love and guidance profoundly influenced countless students and lives. The Institute is here to encourage, inspire and motivate students and the community towards higher opportunities. Please connect with us, visit us and join us as the John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute at Northeastern University grows in visibility and affiliation for the development and success of tomorrow’s leaders.

Programs and Services Our programs and services are designed to support students in achieving academic excellence, to assist them in making healthy adjustments to living and participating in academia and in building community. Programs and services provided by the John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute include:



• Ujima Scholars Program • Legacy Mentoring

• • • • •


• MLK Graduate Fellowship Program

• Community Connectivity and Urban Outreach

• Culturally focused

programming through educational signature events

Counseling Services Library & Research Collection Tutorial Services Black Student Group Support The Reggie Lewis Technology Center

• Employment Opportunities

nter e C l a r b a C Amilcar

Amilcar Cabral Memorial Center The John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute dedicated the Amilcar Cabral Memorial Center in 1975 in honor of Amilicar Lopes Cabral’s tireless work on behalf of the people of the African Diaspora. Amilcar Cabral was an African agronomic engineer, writer, and national politician. Cabral led African nationalist and independence movements in Guinea-Bissau. The Cabral Center is a component of the Institute that provides a space for cultural, educational, and social programs that relate to the experiences of people of African origin throughout the world. It also serves as an events facility for the University and the local community. The Cabral Center offers students a place to mingle, host events, and conduct meetings. The Office of Events plans and implements programs and activities for student, University and community audiences and manages the scheduling of the conference room, the Amilcar Cabral Memorial Center, and events held at the John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute. In addition, the office is dedicated to collaborating with student organizations to assist in orchestrating their events and the utilization of an array of Institute services.

Annual Activities: • • • •

• • • •

Open House Kwanzaa Celebration Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation Black History Month Activities • Generations of Black History • Roland E. Latham Oratory Competition • Black History Quiz Bowl African Diaspora Research and Cultural Expo Unity Day on the Common Unity and Awards Celebration of Student Achievement & Community Engagement Baccalaureate Ceremony

Ujima Scholars Program The Ujima Scholars Program was founded in 1972, to support students through their first year and prepare them to be accepted into the major of their choice as sophomores. The program also provides academic and cultural support beyond that pivotal first year to ensure students earn their undergraduate degrees. The Program staff work in conjunction with colleges, departments and key offices throughout the University to accomplish these goals. The Ujima Scholars Program takes its name from the Swahili word “Ujima” meaning “collective work and responsibility.” As Ujima Scholars, participants are committed to the principles of camaraderie, teamwork, collaboration and cooperation. Toward this end, the program places heavy emphasis on demonstrating academic excellence, group participation, personal development, role modeling, mentoring, and cultural awareness. In addition to meeting the general requirements of the program, we seek students with the following qualities: • • • • • •

A sincere interest in Northeastern University A willingness to uphold Ujima principles of collective work and responsibility among cohort participants Demonstration of high motivation, strong determination, and great academic potential Strong leadership potential as demonstrated through commitment and participation A healthy appreciation and respect for cultural differences A substantive interest in community engagement, social responsibility and global awareness

Through the Institute’s partnership with the Department of African-American studies, Ujima Scholars students enroll in an Introduction to African-American Studies course that helps to strengthen their college writing, oratory, and research skills and increase cultural awareness. In addition, scholars participate in academic skills development workshops designed to strengthen their note taking, outlining, and study skills. This important component of the Ujima Scholars Program is designed to prepare students for college-level academic work.

Legacy Mentoring Program The Legacy Mentoring Program is a collaborative effort of students, faculty, staff, alumni and professionals who actively promote and support academic excellence and access to educational and professional resources with the goal of increasing the retention and graduation rates of incoming first year undergraduates and students of color. Our academic, social and cultural mission creates a unique community of personal growth, professional development, academic success and achievement for students. The Legacy Mentoring Program is a support network that helps students through college and life.

The Legacy Mentoring Program provides the following support: • • • •

Provides support, services, resources and information available from Northeastern and the community-at-large Facilitates the transition from high school to college Provides mentors and role models for interested students Creates a welcoming and supportive environment for all students

African-American Institute Library The John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute Library houses a growing collection of materials encompassing cultures of the African Diaspora throughout the world.

The resources include: • • • • • • • • •

Over 6,800 books, including children’s titles Over 770 reference books Newspaper subscriptions, journals and magazine subscriptions Microfilm: reels on Black culture, and slave narratives, newspapers 17 different journals and magazines on microfiche Videos and DVDs on Africans in the Diaspora Audio-visual capabilities Access to a special library collection on Africans in the Diaspora Internet connected computers

The Library is a part of the Northeastern University Library System (NULIS), the Boston Consortium, and NELINET (an online search service).

Partnership with the Department of African-American Studies The John D. O’ Bryant African-American Institute birthed the Department of African-American Studies in 1973. The academic department was a natural outgrowth of student demands for academic courses and intellectual research opportunities with a focus on the African Diaspora with specific emphasis on the African-American experience.

The mission of this collaboration is to strengthen the historical relationship while combining the strengths of each unit to better serve the university, the College of Social Sciences and Humanities and most importantly the numerous students of various backgrounds and cultures who are serviced by both units.

• Reconnections—An annual reception highlighting the partnership • • • • • • •

along with a monthly breakfast for Black faculty, staff, and administrators Ujima Scholars Program—A creative collaboration including both the academic and service components in one program African-American Master Artists in Residency Program (AAMARP)— Recapturing the creative artistic history and legacy born of the partnership in the early years Community Classroom—An undergraduate NU course open and available to the surrounding community Stormy Monday Colloquia Series—Interdisciplinary scholars sharing current scholarly research African Diaspora Research Expo—An expo focused on research conducted and presented by students, staff and faculty Joint Research Opportunities and expanded Community Collaborations Coordinated efforts toward RECRUITING & RETAINING Black faculty, staff and students.

John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute Northeastern University 40 Leon Street Boston, MA 02115 617-373-3143 voice 617-373-4915 fax

The John D. O'Bryant African-American Institute @ Northeastern University Brochure