Realizing a Dream of Generations

Photos by Charlie Litchfield and Travis Worrell, and courtesy of the University of Oregon Libraries Special Collections and University Archives, the Emerald Media Group, and the Museum of Natural and Cultural History

A new academic, cultural, and social home for the UO’s Black students and the community

With this month’s opening of the Lyllye Reynolds-Parker Black Cultural Center, the University of Oregon realizes the dream of generations of activists: an academic, cultural, and social home for the UO’s Black students and the community.

Spurred by student demands, and made possible by grassroots support and a lead gift from Nancy and Dave Petrone, the center is named for Lyllye Reynolds-Parker, a civil rights activist and UO alumna who touched countless lives of UO students in her career as an academic advisor. Aris Hall, new to campus as the center’s coordinator, will oversee its programming and student services.

The UO’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History marks the center’s opening with Racing to Change: Oregon’s Civil Rights Years—The Eugene Story, an exhibit that chronicles the civil rights movements of the 1960s and 70s and the efforts to bring about social and political change.

Stakeholders with shovels during the groundbreaking for the Lyllye Reynolds-Parker Black Cultural Center

Students walking in front of the Lyllye Reynolds-Parker Black Cultural Center

Lyllye Reynolds-Parker talking to students in the Black Cultural Center

Aris Hall

Lyllye Reynolds-Parker

One Who Walked so Others Could Run

Lyllye Reynolds-Parker was born in Eugene in a house without running water and was discriminated against throughout her life. How did such a woman—who didn’t go to college until age 40, and then, as a single mother—become an inspiration to countless students and a champion of Black student empowerment and community?

Witness an Inspiring Life

A member of the Black Student Union speaking into microphones

A Persistent Push for Change Creates a New Home for Inclusion

The Lyllye Reynolds-Parker Black Cultural Center officially opens one year to the day after breaking ground. But the new center, a symbol of “an amazingly progressive turning point” against the forces of institutional racism, represents a 50-year journey of engagement, activism, student demands, and ultimately, collaboration.

Grasp the History

President Michael Schill and Vice President for Student Life Kevin Marbury with members of the Black Student Task Force.

Students raising their fists during the Black Community Rally in the EMU amphitheater on Nov.11, 2016

Eugene Black Panthers speaking on campus

Students meeting in the Black Student Union

Members of the Black Panthers in the outline of the state of Oregon

Racing to Change: Oregon’s Civil Rights Years

Through photographs, recorded interviews, and historical archives, a new exhibit chronicles the civil rights movement in Eugene and on the UO campus during the 1960s and 1970s, and tells the stories of the activists who endured the struggle and the young people who were catalysts for change.

Explore the Landscape of Change