In 1975, the Black Student Union (BSU) received funding from the Oregon State University student government, the Alumni Center, and the local community to open the BSU Cultural Center. The center's name changed in 1981 to the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center (BCC), in honor of the first director of OSU's Educational Opportunities Program. The mission of the Lonnie B. Harris BCC is to complement the academic program of studies and enrich the quality of campus life for African and African-American students at OSU.
The Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center Records document activities and events organized by the center such as staff retreats, Kwanzaa celebrations, Soul Food Day, annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations, open house receptions, bowling parties, Black History Month Dinners, and lectures by visiting scholars. The collection includes guest books, newsletters, newspaper clippings, photographs, posters, signs, and a scrapbook. The bulk of the collection consists of photographs.
The photographs include about 1100 prints and 500 negatives (primarily color) and depict events and programs at the Center as well as students and staff affiliated with the Center in portrait images and groups photographs. Photographs of displays and exhibits as well as the Center building are included. Digital photographs of Center activities, including a tour of the Center by elementary school children, are stored on three compact discs (CDs) that are part of the collection.
The scrapbook consists primarily of newspaper clippings and copies of clippings documenting Center activities as well as the history of the Center and the 1969 Black Student Union walkout. In addition to OSU-related materials, some of the newspaper clippings pertain to Corvallis City Manager Gerald Seals.
Digitized versions of 4 photograph albums are available online. The albums are for the years 1992-1997 (Album 1), 1997-2001 (Album 2), 2001-2003 (Album 3), and 2003-2004 (Album 4). They include images of open houses at the Center; annual events such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebrations, Kwanzaa, and Black History Month; retreats; the 1996 boycott; Jesse Jackson's visit to Oregon State in 1992; fashion shows; the dedication of Carrie Halsell Hall; and students and staff affiliated with the Center. The original albums have been retained by the Center.
Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center Records (RG 244), Oregon State University Special Collections & Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.