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© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Call No.: Arch DE 2.10A.1
Repository: Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University
Title: African-American Student Union records
Quantity: 8.5 linear feet (4 cartons, 5 boxes)
Language of materials: English
The African-American Student Union (AASU) was officially founded at Harvard Business School (HBS) amid the social turbulence of the late 1960s. Five HBS students, Clifford E. Darden, A. LeRoy Willis, Lillian Lincoln Lambert, E. Theodore Lewis Jr., and George R. Price, came together to address challenges they experienced as a racial minority at HBS as well as broader socio-economic issues faced by African Americans nationwide. In a 1969 letter to HBS faculty, AASU members stated that "(1) the seriousness of the racial situation and the socioeconomic condition of Black people demand a major and positive response from all institutions which form part of our society; and (2) Harvard Business School, as one of the major educational institutions in the nation, must accept its share of the challenges and risks associated with the upgrading of educational opportunities of Blacks and other minority groups." AASU members proposed four core goals: increase Black enrollment in the MBA program; raise more fellowship funds for Black students; add new courses relevant to Black students; and promote meaningful social interaction and career development. Working closely with Dean George P. Baker and others in the HBS administration, members of AASU succeeded in raising the number of African American students. They also created the impetus for increased fellowship funding, courses on economic development in underserved communities, and broader representation in the HBS faculty. In 1971, HBS formed the Council for Opportunity for Graduate Management Education (COGME) with nine other graduate business programs across the country with the mandate to provide financial support and increase minority enrollment in member schools.
The records of the African-American Student Union (AASU) at Harvard Business School cover the period of its beginning in the late 1960s to the present day. The bulk of the materials date from 1969-1971 and 1985-1994, under the deanships of George B. Baker (1961-1970), Lawrence E. Fouraker (1970-1980) and John H. McArthur (1980-1995).The records in this collection document the various directions taken at HBS in response to the demands of AASU including educational and admissions support, social and cultural events at HBS, changes in the HBS course curriculum and case studies, the development of job placement and economic resources for minority students, the various associations and affiliations of AASU with local public schools, minority owned businesses and public agencies, and finally in the organization's growth in its efforts to support the interests of African American students at HBS.Of particular note in this collection are the documents relating to the beginning years of the program from 1969-1971 which chronicle the mood of the times and the reasons for the AASU's founding. Also of interest are the materials relating to the annual AASU Career/Alumni Conferences from 1982-1997.