The following are excerpts and evidence of Cultural Union for Black Expression’s (CUBE) decades of service to the Black student population on St. Olaf Campus. A group often supported more for the sake of image than moral obligation, CUBE has nevertheless successfully maintained an open, safe space for the existence, expression, and upliftment of Blackness. Founded in 1969, the Black student center CUBE held cultural events, showcases of Black artistry, founded the Black newspaper Ujama, and created the African-American History course outline and syllabus, thus building the foundation of the Race and Ethnic Studies curriculum. Given the extensive list of achievements CUBE has brought to the college, it is criminally underappreciated, unsupported, and unaccredited.
Photos Courtesy of the CUBE Archives
“BAC [Black Action Committee], as an organization, gives us a sense of unity, belonging, and direction, which is desperately needed at this and other predominantly white colleges. The Black Action Committee acts as a spokesman and initiator of certain programs and ideas, when appropriate, and also as an effective means of communicating amongst ourselves and keeping abreast of the other things happening in the St. Olaf community.”
BAC Chairperson Verna Berry, Manitou Messenger, No.16, Vol.088, April 11, 1975
St Olaf is a spacious and beautiful campus… A very good Institution for acquiring a suitable education.
St. Olaf has given me a chance to get a halfway decent education and a chance to experience the white world; a chance to know them and their attitudes and their culture. I have found that whites have a decidedly different viewpoint on much of life.
St. Olaf has not given me a full enough chance to express myself as a black person. I often get the feeling that I don’t exist, that I’m just here because of politics and integration list. Being here makes me more aware that I should get all I can from “the man” and give it to my people. I encourage many more blacks to come to St. Olaf because things are accomplished by greatness in numbers. My only wish is that many more of us could come without the obstacles of “doskie” blocking the way. This I believe is The White Man’s way of keeping the black in his place.
The competition is great here — sometime sickening — for people are out for a grade and many are not thinking of learning too much. This is the kind of society we must cope with. There is a task to perform. We want a chance to obtain status and the things we need. Only we can accomplish this — by working together. Right on brothers and sisters.
Excerpt written by Denise Dorsey ’74 (pictured left) from the First brochure created by Black Students at St. Olaf to recruit other Black students to attend.
– Denise Dorsey ’68