Afro-American Cultural Center: House Tour
Written by A.T. McWilliams, House Staff Member, MC ‘12
As the House’s most spacious room, the Banquet Room hosts the majority of the cultural center’s large-scale events. It contains a 75-foot ceiling, gothic windows, and wood paneling which offers the hall a comfortable feel. It has hosted up to 130 people during formal “sit-down” events, but can hold up to 220 people for “stand-up” events, such as parties or various social events. The space’s utility remains immensely flexible. The Banquet Room is has also been used for formal, theatre performance, film showings, conferences events. Many best know the Banquet Room as the home of the “Black Church at Yale.”
Caption: The Banquet Room, view from balcony.
The Gallery, found on the second floor of the House, is typically used to display art work and various exhibits from artists both within and outside of the Yale community. It currently contains a photography exhibit displaying powerful images of “Beautiful Black Women,” contributed by a Yale alum, and will likely remain for the next few weeks. The Gallery is quite large, and is also useful for receptions, meetings, and readings. In example, Yale’s premier performance poetry group “WORD” has used the Gallery for their Fall and Spring events for the last several years.
Caption: The Gallery, view without exhibit/event
Located on the second floor, the Library a large variety of books and literary works focused on myriad issues within the Black Diaspora. In addition to being an unbelievable academic resource, the Library is a comfortable place that is perfect for studying, meetings, and generally spending time with friends and colleagues.
The Founder’s Room
Across the hall from the Banquet Room is the House’s Founder’s Room. While not as large as the Banquet Room (with a potential capacity between 85 and 100), the Founder’s Room contains a great deal of character and meaning for the House. In addition to containing portrait memorials to the House’s esteemed founders, it boasts an ornate ceiling, windows looking onto Pierson College and the Yale Cabaret, and beautiful wood paneling. In terms of functionality, the Founder’s Room can serve all purposes served by the Banquet Room, and provides yet another option for members of the Yale community interested in utilizing the space.
Caption: Yale’s African Dance Troupe, Konjo!, practicing in The Founder’s Room
The Lighten Room (Game Room)
Funded through the generosity of William (‘86) and Janifer (‘83) Lighten is the Lighten Room, better known as the “Game Room” to Yale students. This room is easily the House’s most comfortable space, and is consistently used as a “hang out” or recreational space by students of all years. The room includes a sizable television with projector hook-up, various video games, couches, and bean-bag chairs. Many student organizations prefer this room for student organization meetings because it provides a discernable sense of “home” for all students who occupy it.
Caption: The Lighten Room, general view of space.
In the basement of the House are two “seminar rooms,” typically used for student organization meetings, and tutoring through the Urban Improvement Corps. One of the seminar rooms is especially popular because of its colorful mural of black America musicians throughout history, painted by Yale Alum Faith Briggs (’10). Although these rooms cannot be reserved, they are perfect for a small student group meeting or event, or an informal late night study session.
Caption: One seminar room including mural of Black musicians through history.