Monday, October 5, 2009
This library was a gift from Andrew Carnegie and dedicated in 1907. When Regina attended Wilberforce the library was open six days a week and contained 10,500 bound volumes, journals, newspapers, and spacious reading rooms with modern furnishings. Regina worked as a library assistant in this library. The building now houses the National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center administrative offices.
Regina attended Wilberforce 90 years ago from 1919 - 1920. During that time, first-year female students were assigned to one of two dorms. I don't know where Regina lived but one of the dorms still exists. It now belongs to Central State University and is being restored. It cost $6 a term to rent a room in the dorm and $3 for fuel and light. The colonial style Emery Hall was built in 1913 for $50,000 including the furnishing and fixtures. According to the 1919/1920 Wilberforce Catalogue, Emery Hall had "all the modern conveniences, heated by hot water and lighted by electricity and gas. It accommodates eighty girls." The dorm included "laundries, kitchens, and dining rooms. There are also parlors and reception rooms." Additionally, there were study rooms and typewriting rooms equipped with Remingtons and Underwoods.
I had the opportunity to visit Wilberforce University last week while attending and presenting at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. Wilberforce is located in Xenia, Ohio a little over an hour away from Cincinnati. My friend, Dr. Furaha Norton from Cincinnati, drove and a kind Wilberforce employee, Officer Herman B. Webb (see picture), shared his knowledge of the history of Wilberforce and the nearby Central State University. Officer Webb also knew the location of the historic buildings that I wanted to see.