This report presents recommendations for the reallocation of space for a Hamilton College Cultural Education Center (CEC), the former name of the Days-Massolo Center.
These are a collection of notes that show how members of the Hamilton community define "community" and how they plan on being active participants in assuring that Hamilton embodies these community ideals. This report was issues September 18, 2009, and was a major keystone in the conversations that lead to the creation of the Days-Massolo Center.
"Two questions are involved in the creation of the Afro-American Cultural Center: One is the question of identity. How, on this campus, in this kind of culture, is it possible for members of the student body who belong to the black race to retain a sense of identity and integrity in a culture which in many of its facets is recognizably and obviously alien to them? …how, at this college, at our two colleges, do we respond educationally to the fact that there is a very sizeable and a very significant element in our society—the black race—who have a distinctive culture, a distinctive history?"
President John W. Chandler (1969-1973) made this statement on May 20, 1969 in the Hamilton College Chapel during the announcement to convert the nine room three-story house located at 204 College Hill Road into a Black Cultural Center at a cost of $7,000. The agreement was negotiated between President Chandler, Christine Johnson, Alex Haley, and Hamilton-Kirkland Black Union leaders, headed by Humphrey Polanin. At that time, Hamilton, an all male institution, reported a student body of 830 men, 15 of whom were African-American and two of whom were African. Hamilton’s sister institution, Kirkland, reported a student body of 150 women, four of whom were African-American (Geneva Times, May 21, 1969, ALCC Papers). Although Colgate, Cornell, and Williams colleges had been the sites of takeovers during that period (ALCC Papers), the discussions concerning the center at Hamilton were conducted in an atmosphere of “understanding,” and at no time were requests by the Black Union leaders characterized as “demands” (Rome Sentinel, May 20, 1969, ALCC Papers). More ...