Black Alumni Weekend Archives Exhibit Evokes Memories

Over the weekend of September 27-28, an archives display, “I Feel Good: A Soulful Stroll Down Memory Lane,” presented a unique collection of University Archives materials in honor of the 2013 Black Alumni Reunion (BAR). Several dozen visiting alumni made time in their otherwise busy BAR weekend activities schedule to visit the display, which was created by Bill Kimok, University Archivist and Records Manager.

The materials on display represented typical parts of student and campus life; from sports events, guest speakers, entertainers and classes to awards ceremonies, parties, and relaxation in the dorms and on the College Green.  But to the alumni who visited the display, every photo led to many stories, every event poster evoked memories, and every yearbook led to giggles over the bygone clothing and hairstyles. Many visitors took photos and sent them immediately to friends and family members who couldn’t be in Athens for the reunion. 

During his three days of attending the display and answering questions, Kimok observed that “while this was a reunion for people who came to Ohio University as students, it was clear during their visits to the display that they were returning to Athens as a family.”  Many visitors recognized the students in the photos as themselves or friends with whom they still keep in touch. Kimok added that this was by far his favorite display ever, and that he looks forward to the next Black Alumni Reunion, which typically take place every three years.

In addition to the archives display the Libraries also hosted a conversation with Carl H. Walker, author of “Soulful Bobcats: Experiences of African American Students at Ohio University During the 1950s,” and a symposium on the African American Student Experience Through the Decades. Selected photos from all three events are below, and more photos are available on the Libraries Flickr page

Ed note: This post was written by Shaila Meeker and Bill Kimok. 


Author Carl H. Walker poses for a portrait after signing books during the event, Authors@Alden: A Conversation with Carl Walker, on the fourth floor of the Vernon R. Alden Library on Saturday, September 28, 2013.


A crowd listens to the symposium: The African American Student Experience Through the Decades on the fourth floor the Vernon R. Alden Library during the Black Alumni Reunion on Saturday, September 28, 2013.


(From left) Ohio University 1959 alumnae Joan W. Nabors and Ejaye Johnson Robinson-Tracey look at memorabilia that was included in the “I Feel Good!” exhibit on the fifth floor of the Vernon R. Alden Library during the celebration of the Black Alumni Reunion on the afternoon of Saturday, September 28, 2013.