Staff from the Special Collections Research Center recently brought a show and tell of materials from the archives to a reunion of alumni members of the United Student Fellowship (originally named the Black Student Fellowship), an African American student group at NC State from the 1970s-2000s.
The Black Student Fellowship was a Christian organization formed in 1975 to give African American students a place to worship on campus. Many members also belonged to the New Horizons Choir, founded by Eleania B. Ward in 1976. Soon after its founding, the name was changed from the Black Student Fellowship to the United Students Fellowship. Membership flourished in the 1980s and 1990s, as the USF expanded. In the late 1980s the USF established its own choir, the United Student Fellowship Choir, led by former New Horizons Choir member Barry Squires. The final gathering of USF happened in the Spring of 2005.
Todd Kosmerick and Virginia Ferris brought a display of University Archives materials, including flyers and programs from USF events (found in the USF Records, UA 021.520), photographs of the New Horizons Choir, and Agromeck yearbooks from the years during which alumni attending the event were students at NC State.
Many alumni discovered photos of themselves or NC State friends in the display. Reunion organizer and USF alumna Vanessa Wilson said, “The display helped to generate excitement among the USF alumni as they reminisced about days gone by on State's campus and all the wonderful relationships they established while attending. It didn't hurt that most of them saw themselves in some of the archived history.” In several cases, alumni helped provide names of students in photographs that weren’t previously identified, that will be added to the metadata of these images in our Rare & Unique Digital Collections.
The show and tell also sparked conversations with University Archivist Todd Kosmerick about the importance of donating materials to the archives to increase representation of student groups like the USF. Members attending the reunion were encouraged to contact the Special Collections Research Center if they have saved materials from their time at NC State that they would like to donate.
In addition to the show and tell, Kosmerick gave a presentation on the evolution of the NC State campus in the years since the USF alumni were students. Among some of the major changes were the demolition of Harrelson Hall and the development of Centennial Campus, the home of the James B. Hunt Jr. Library.
We appreciate opportunities to help alumni connect with their history at NC State through these materials. If you are interested in learning more about using Special Collections materials or about outreach with the SCRC, please contact us!
[Edited 7/30/18 to reflect information shared by alumnus Ron Foreman.]