Skip to main content

Harambee House records

Identifier: 5E-Harambee House

Scope and Contents

This collection includes records of Harambee House, dating from 1970-2005. This collection is closely related to the collection 6S Ethos records. Ethos is the student organization which established Harambee House in 1969. Collection consists of two series. Series I. Administrative records and publications (1970-2001) includes documents such as a list of speakers brought by Harambee House, the transcript from Oprah Winfrey's Commencement Address, and a letter to Ethos from President Diana Chapman Walsh, and publications such as the Wellesley College's 1987 Equal Opportunities Grievance Procedures, a 1973 welcome booklet, The Black Directory, newsletters and bulletins. Series I. also includes files on the Diversity Task Force and its initiatives, affiliated organizations, College Government, the history of Ethos and Harambee, and administrative correspondence. Series II. Event materials (circa 1970-2005) includes records created for events held or sponsored by Harambee house, such as dance, theater, movie screenings, fashion shows and parties, as well as lectures and conferences. These events are often about the experience of being a woman of African descent, at Wellesley, in America, and in professional and social contexts, and many events provide community support and creative engagement. Records primarily consist of posters and programs.


  • 1970-2005


Language of Materials

Predominantly in English, includes some Swahili.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research, but contains some material which has been restricted as per the Wellesley College Archives Access Policy: To make an appointment to view unrestricted materials, please contact the Archives staff by email at or by phone at (781) 283-3745.

Conditions Governing Use

The Wellesley College Archives welcomes researchers to use materials in the public domain, to make fair use of copyrighted materials as defined by copyright law, and to request permission to use works whose copyright is held by Wellesley College. All materials from the Archives, regardless of copyright status, should be attributed to the Wellesley College Archives, Library and Technology Services when cited, quoted, or reproduced.

Biographical / Historical

The student organization Ethos established Harambee House in 1969. Ethos was founded in December 1966 by five Wellesley College students while returning from the Inter-Collegiate Conference of Afro-American Students, with the goal of supporting and establishing community for black students and students of African descent, learning more of their community's history and traditions, and serving as a voice for issues affecting the community. (Paraphrased from 1977 October 12 Ethos newsletter.) Harambee House was founded in 1969 when Wellesley's classical society Alpha Kappa Chi (AKX) closed their house, and was meant to provide a central location for the academic, social, and cultural needs of students of African descent. Harambee House has served as a center for the black community and provided solidarity and support in the face of racism within and without the Wellesley College community. Harambee House officially opened in September 1970. The collection reflects the way in which Harambee House acted as a host and sponsor for many activities, often in inextricable coordination with the student organization Ethos.


1.5 Linear Feet (Materials removed from large mailing box, now housed in one Hollinger document box and one oversize flat box.)


Collection is physically maintained in original order. Collection is intellectually arranged in two series: Series I. Administrative records and publications (1970-2001) and Series II. Event materials (circa 1970-2005).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated to the Archives by Rachael Beverly from Harambee House in 1998 October.

Related Materials

See also the collection 6S Ethos records.

Separated Materials

The Black Directory for 1980-1981 was removed to 6S Ethos Box 1 Folder 1 "Black Directory, 1973-2005."
Wellesley College. Harambee House. Harambee House records, 1970-2005: a guide
Natalia GutiƩrrez-Jones, Project Archivist
June 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Wellesley College Archives Repository