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The Black Experience at Northwestern University Research Guide


The University Archives has material relating to Black staff and faculty at Northwestern University. Please use the guide below or search the  Northwestern University Archival and Manuscript Collections portal for collection finding aids.

Faculty Papers

The list below features links to the finding aids of personal papers of Northwestern faculty that relate to the Black experience at Northwestern University. Personal papers are a collection of documents acquired by or received by an individual that often reflects their life or career. The collections listed below were donated to Northwestern University Archives. Please review the "Conditions Governing Access" section of the finding aid for information regarding restrictions.

  • Bethel, Kathleen Papers
  • Brutus, Dennis (1924-2009) Papers, 1960-1984. Brutus was a poet and South African expatriate. He taught English and African Literature at Northwestern from 1971 to 1985. His paper includes correspondence, poetry, and sport-related material, such as the International Committee Against Racism In Sport (ICARIS) and the South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee (SAN-ROC). 
  • Colter, Cyrus (1910-2002) Papers, 1935-1995. Colter was a writer, lawyer, and professor. He taught creative writing in Northwestern's Department of African American Studies. The collection consists of biographical material, correspondence, and speeches. There are also publications, including drafts from his last two novels, A Chocolate Soldier and City of Lights. 
  • Exum, William H. (1942-1986) Papers, 1965-1985. Exum taught Sociology at Northwestern in the Department of African American Studies. His papers consist of biographical material and teaching files.
  • Forrest, Leon (1937-1997) Papers, 1952-1999. Forrest was a writer and professor. He taught African American Literature and creative writing at Northwestern in the Department of African American Studies. 
  • Herskovits, Melville Papers (1895-1963), 1906-1963. Herskovits was an anthropologist. He founded the Department of Anthropology in 1938 and later chaired African Studies, the first such position in the United States. Herskovits' papers document his career in anthropology and African studies, including correspondence, manuscripts of publications, research, and photographs.
  • Hughes, Joyce Ann Papers
  • Pitts, James (1944-  ) Papers, 1961-2013. Pitts received his B.A. in Political Science and M.A., and Ph.D. in Sociology from Northwestern University. He is also a former faculty member. His collection contains newspaper clippings, correspondence, and published work, awards, a scrapbook, and a jersey from his time in college.  
  • Slaughter-Defoe, Diana Papers


  • Faculty Files. An artificial collection of press releases, clippings, memos about individual members of the faculty. Also documents relating to faculty diversity, the Northwestern University Black Faculty, Staff, and Administrators Association (NUBFSAA)
  • Department of African American Studies
  • HistoryMakers Digital Archive History Makers is the largest African American oral video history archive in the world. Provides access to over 61,221 stories from oral history interviews with 1,195 historically significant African Americans are currently available. It includes Northwestern faculty: Kathleen Bethel, Dolores Cross, Robert A. Harris, Lucius P. Gregg, Joyce Ann Hughes, Frank Morris, Toni-Marie Montgomery, Alice Palmer, Dorothy Roberts, Valerie Taylor, and Clarence Waldron, etc.   
  • Articles


Staff Organizations