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African Students Association

Identifier: BC37-38

Scope and Content Summary

The collection consists of African Students Association constitution, meeting notes, flyers, correspondence, clippings, event planning notes, and archived ASA affiliated websites, as well as association budgets and member rosters from Columbia University.


  • Creation: Bulk dates 1978-1997; 2016-2018.



This collection has no restrictions.

Publication Rights

Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Barnard Archives and Special Collections. The Barnard Archives and Special Collections approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Reproduction Restrictions

Reproductions can be made for research purposes, but this collection contains formats that the Archives may not be able to reproduce with current equipment. To reproduce such items, the cost of the reproduction will fall on the researcher.

Historical Background

The African Students Association (ASA) was founded at Columbia University to create a support network for its members and “to promote and articulate the interests of African Students.” ASA is first mentioned in the Columbia Spectator in an article by Stuart Karle in 1980, discussing a day-long conference organized by the association on South Africa and the Sullivan Principles. ASA is first mentioned in Barnard College Mortarboards in 1988 under a list of recognized clubs and organizations. The association was initially only open to graduate students based at Teachers College, but was recognized by the Columbia College around 1994. ASA worked closely with the Institute of African Studies, organizing events that provided a forum to broaden awareness of African politics, economics, and culture across Columbia University. Events included African Cultural Night in 1994, featuring a masquerade, a fashion show, and poetry reading co-sponsored with the United Students of Color Council, Black Students Organization, and the Haitian Students Association. ASA also co-sponsored various events with institutions outside of Columbia University. In 1982 ASA collaborated with the Studio Museum of Harlem to host a screening of films from Africa, featuring works by Ousmane Sembene and Mahama Troare of Senegal. This collection contains correspondence between members inviting prominent African leaders to give talks at Columbia University, including one to H.E. Robert Mugabe, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe in 1987. Members also participated in the creation of flyers and brochures covering issues from “Life in New York City for African: What to expect? Where to go and where not to go?” to academic issues within Columbia University (as noted in meeting minutes from February 28th, 1994).


1 Linear Feet (1 carton)

3 websites




This collection consists of materials from the African Students Association at Columbia University from 1978-1997. The collection includes letters, notes, membership rosters, meeting minutes, speeches, reports, photographs, booklets, pamphlets, brochures, fliers, memorabilia, newspaper clippings, the association’s constitution, as well as archived ASA affiliated websites, including a Tumblr blog and the association’s public website from 2016 to present.

Collection Arrangement

This collection is arranged in the order in which it was received. ASA affiliated websites are archived chronologically.

Physical Location

This collection is located in the Barnard Archives and Special Collections, Barnard Library. To use this collection, please contact the Barnard Archives and Special Collections at 212.854.4079 or

Acquisition Information

African Students Association via Yemi Oluwayemisi, Columbia University in 2018.


Additions are expected. Web crawls of African Students Association public website and Tumblr page began in 2016 and will be conducted on a continuing basis.

Processing History

The collection was processed by Shannon O’Neil in 2017; the finding aid was written by Hilary Wang with additional processing work in November 2019. Descriptive Rules Used: Finding aid adheres to that prescribed by Describing Archives: A Content Standard. Finding aid written in English.

  • Dev Pillay personal papers; event flyers; ASA letter head and envelopes; "Future Net" consulting paper work.
Guide to the African Students Association Collection
In Progress
Hilary Wang
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Barnard Archives and Special Collections Repository

3009 Broadway
New York NY 10027 United States