Interview with Mr. Larry Williamson, Jr, Director, Dr. Frank W. Hale, Jr. Black Cultural Center
Conducted by Sterling Clemmons, OSUBAS Student Representative
Larry Williamson, Jr., explains the transition to the new location…..
The transition to the new location started back in 2007/2008 when the university was going through their development plan and they were looking at the Hale Center for green space. The actual transition took place in 2012/2013 under the leadership of Dr. Valerie Lee. Students enjoyed the fact that they would stay in the same location and the fact that Enarson was a historical building. This is the first student union in the country for a public university and the 4th overall. With it being only 75 feet across the street from the old Hale Hall, it just made sense. There are only 4 historical buildings on campus and now we are fortunate enough for one of them to house the black cultural center. He never thought that the change of locations, from one building to another, would be done under his administration. He describes this move as “[The] greatest breath of fresh air for them with the opportunity to still grow and prosper.” He also expressed how the fact that the university has to always maintain and keep it up shows great significance and speaks volumes in regards to the presence on campus.
Hale House plans…..
It only took Mr. Williamson one word when asked what the future plans are for Hale and that was: “expand”. He says that The Ohio State University, including The Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Black Cultural Center, has “bigger and betteritis” meaning that they are always looking to expand and make things even more extravagant than they already are. Our Cultural center is ranked within top 10 and we hope to one day have one of the largest facilities.
His objectives for Black Alumni participation & presence in Hale Hall…..
Dr. Hale always wanted the Hale Center to be students’ home away from home. He believes that The Hale Center should be the target area for alumni to come back to see the growth and development. While the moving shows we’re growing he understands how alumni might feel a void. The other Hale Center was a home away from home for them and now it is treated different. Alumni treated it as more of a meeting place and connectivity but now it’s still a meeting place but also a place of business. He hopes to increase participation within the alumni as well as the mentoring between them and our undergraduate population. He says he is “Satisfied with where we are but optimistic about what we can become.” The speed networking event was a step in the right direction and he hopes that future events, such as the art showcase in 2017 can be attended by the alumni. There has definitely been growth and development under the leadership of Pam Tapscott-Lassiter and Vaughn Broadnax as they have stayed in contact and been receptive to the use of the Hale Center for their events. Alumni support is needed and it’s understood that the alumni are the ones who truly know what it takes to successfully matriculate from The Ohio State University.
Talk about some of the artwork currently in Hale Hall & what’s coming….
We possess one of the top art collections in the country, second to none! There are many local artist exhibited within Hale because Dr. Hale wanted to make sure they were respected as well as national artwork which gives us great depth of success. Dr. Samella Lewis has 36 pieces of museum quality work exhibited within Hale Hall alone. The artwork shown also included pieces from Meta Faux Warrick-Fuller, Elizabeth Catlett, Sam Gilliam, and Paul Goodnight, as well as groups such as Youba, Dogon, Ife, and Ashanti. Not to exclude our local artists such as Kojo Kamau, Pheoris West, Andrew Scott, Larry Winston Collins, Gilda Edwards, Dr. Charles Hollingsworth and so many more. We have Frank W. Hale’s collection of books, artifacts, and personal treasures. The collection is thriving and will be shown at an urban art showcase in August of 2017 in downtown Columbus. Not many universities feature their black cultural art collection and with OSU being one of the largest we consider this a big deal!
There are a variety of things coming up at Hale Hall. Angela Davis will be joining us for a talk on Jan. 31st, 2017 and we’ve even invited David Banner to come and speak soon! Traditional events such as our Pre-Kwanza event and Black History Month activities are also set to commence. One of the greatest strengths of a black cultural center is a harmonic relationship with their alumni. There would be no black cultural center if it wasn’t for our alumni and the stances they took as students. We appreciate OSU 34, ACTION, Just Us, African Student Union, Dr. Hale, Dr. Nelson and many others because we still as a community stand on their shoulders.
Dr. Frank W. Hale Black Cultural Center
154 W. 12th Ave
Columbus, OH 43210
Call today to arrange a tour!