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Retrospection

Deborah Batts
Retrospection

‘Deborah Was All About the Truth’: Remembering Deborah Batts, the First Openly Gay Federal Judge

Deborah A. Batts '69 — who unexpectedly died in February 2020 at age 72 due to complications from knee surgery — had an extraordinary legal career by any standard. But she also accomplished an important national first. With her confirmation to the federal bench in 1994, she became the first openly gay federal judge in the United States.

1969 Editorials 2
Retrospection

1969 Editorials 2

As I read about these students who’d navigated Harvard’s campus 53 years before me, they put words to the internal struggles that I’d brushed off as my own exaggerations. Whether it was misogyny within the Black community, the ever-present shade drawn over Harvard’s inner workings and how to navigate them, or the seemingly unbreakable fortitude of an unchanging institution.

1969 Black Editorials
Retrospection

1969 Black Editorials

The 1969 edition of the Harvard-Radcliffe yearbook contains a 24-page section entitled "BLACKS", featuring a collection of editorials by Black students at the time.

1969 Black Editorials
Retrospection

Hell Doesn't Seem So Hot From Up Here

Morisey looks back on her experience at Radcliffe with bittersweet pride. Even as she reminisces on the difficulty of being a Black Cliffie, I sense that she sees a bigger picture, one beyond each negative moment she experienced as an undergraduate. This doesn’t necessarily mean ignoring pain and strife or dismissing her 1969 self’s experiences, but Morisey refuses to let these moments define her.

Harvard Yard 1953
Retrospection

The Ghostly Outlines of Harvard's Fallen Foliage

Natural pests have plagued Harvard’s elms, while University administrators — more concerned with practicality than aesthetics — launched a plan to remove ivy from Harvard’s hallowed halls.

HLS Dean
Retrospection

A Spring of Discontent

But before local school board members started contending with critical race theory, critical legal studies was fanning a flame that would spark one of the most tense periods in the history of Harvard Law School.

Housing Day Video Origins
Retrospection

Housing Day Video Origins

Though Housing Day videos are now a treasured part of Housing Day festivities, the tradition is only about a decade long.

Retrospection

Black Nationalists in December

Some may know the story of Richard Theodore Greener, Class of 1870, the very first Black person to graduate from Harvard College. But before the courage of Greener, there was the persistence of Martin Robinson Delany.

Housing Day Video Origins
Retrospection

The Spectacular and Scandalous History of Harvard Housing Day Videos

Housing Day videos are now as much of a tradition as Housing Day itself. While the tradition’s history is brief — the earliest videos on YouTube date back to 2009 —, it has garnered both mass celebration and incited widespread controversy.

Retrospection

“Look Back and See Who You Can Help Up”: A Glimpse into the Life of Archie C. Epps

Archie C. Epps III was one of few Black senior administrators in Harvard's history, becoming Dean of Students in 1971. At age 32, he was one of the youngest appointments in the school’s history — and his term as dean one of the most eventful.

Cambridge Harmonica Orchestra
Retrospection

‘Wonderful chaos’: The brief, brilliant rise of the Cambridge Harmonica Orchestra

The Cambridge Harmonica Orchestra, a historic gem of the Cambridge music scene, had its glorious debut more than 40 years ago. Well known for their vibrant yellow jackets and laid-back attitudes, this group of musicians hopped between bars and music fests, bringing the blues harp to Cambridge and beyond.

Wusong Road
Retrospection

The Wusong Road Less Traveled

The old Conductor’s Building on Mount Auburn Street stands as an awkwardly narrow wedge, sitting next to an alleyway wider than itself. But while the exterior of the building remains inconspicuous, the inside has been transformed into a Chinese tiki bar and restaurant named Wusong Road after the first Conductor’s Building in Wusong, China.

Rothko Murals Graphic
Retrospection

Fear and Loathing in 'Harvard's Front Door'

When construction wrapped on the Holyoke Center, the precursor to today's Smith Campus Center, in 1966, the hulking concrete mass was unlike anything the area had seen before.

Retrospection

A Renewed Vision of Justice at Framingham: Uniting a Prison’s Past and Future

Today, many believe MCI-Framingham is a dangerous and non-restorative home for women convicted of crimes in Massachusetts. But that hasn’t always been the case.

Eliot House by Air
Retrospection

‘Don’t Test Chaos Theory on Us’: Harvard’s 1995 Switch to Housing Randomization, Revisited

Adams: artsy and queer. Eliot: preppy, blue-blooded schmoozers. Kirkland: jocks. Lowell: studiers. The Quad: Black and Hispanic students with an emphasis on activism. These were just some of the reputations that Harvard Houses had from the 1930s to 1995.

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