Northwestern University Black House is getting a $4.5M facelift

EVANSTON, Ill. (WLS) -- A Victorian house, home to many Black students from Northwestern University, is underway of getting a major facelift. A much needed renovation to a special hub for students on campus, said a staff member of the university.

"It is a refuge for our Black students, it is a space that Black students, Black alum fought for," said Lesley- Ann Brown Henderson, acting chief of staff for student affairs at Northwestern University.

"It's tangible evidence of what students have accomplished because the university and it was something the students- we all really needed," said Herman Cage, alum of the university.

Cage was a senior at Northwestern in 1968 when the Black House first opened its doors. The home was a result of one of eight demands Black students made to the university after peacefully occupying the Bursar's Office to protest for more resources and services for Black students.

The structure of the Black House came to the lime light in 2015 after the university proposed moving administration offices to the Black House. This proposition received lots of backlash because those administration offices did not cater to exclusively Black students.

Cage said 1968 was a significant year for Black students and people, thousands protesting for the death of Martin Luther King Jr. Henderson said the protests 52 years ago had a similar ring to the protests for justice on the murder of George Floyd.

"It was very much like the rally cries of Black lives matter that we're hearing today they didn't say maybe Black lives matter. It might have been Black power," said Henderson.

The 4.5 million renovation will be done by Black-owned architectural firm, Moody Nolan and the construction firm GMA Construction Group.

Due to COVID-19 guidelines, the university is still in the process of determining the renovation timeline.
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