Black Cultural Center opens
In spring 1970, SASS requested Robinson House, a women's residence hall, to house the Black Cultural Center (BCC). President Robert Cross agreed, and after some negotiations, the house opened that fall. Within the first year, it housed a library, served as the home for a big brother/sister program that paired Black Swarthmore students with area youth, and sponsored film presentations, jam sessions, soul food dinners, and political and spiritual workshops.
Popularly known as the "House," the Black Cultural Center has remained the hub of Black student life since its inception. From its beginnings as a community hangout with fish nets on the ceiling, it continues to serve as a space for myriad uses, including classes, meetings, meals, and other special gatherings. The library collection and study space is devoted to materials about the Black experience and the civil rights movement.
The BCC's 10th anniversary brought acclaimed poet and essayist Nikki Giovanni and comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory to campus. In 2000, the BCC celebrated its 30th year with a year-long series of events, including an open house, a series of lectures, and special activities over Black Alumni Weekend. A concert by the Swarthmore College Alumni Gospel Choir at the Friends Meeting House on campus kicked off the anniversary in September.