Temple University will begin construction on the new Center for Anti-Racism in Anderson Hall in Fall 2021, said Dozie Ibeh, the associate vice president of Temple’s Project Delivery Group.
Temple will construct the Center for Anti-Racism on the deck connecting Anderson and Gladfelter halls by enclosing exterior space on the deck adjacent to the second floor of Anderson Hall’s new lobby, Ibeh said.
Temple expects to complete the project in Spring 2022, Ibeh said.
The Center for Anti-Racism will promote briefing papers, promote discussion about policies and behaviors in the United States concerning race and racism, produce occasional pamphlets and educational reports and host seminars and workshops, said Molefi Kete Asante, chair of the Africology and African American studies department.
“Africology and African American studies is actively engaged in an urgent matter to bring into existence a world where human beings matter and that is not based on patriarchy and hierarchy,” Asante said. “And then hopefully the center will start making a full analytical brief of the most critical issues confronting people of African descent.”
Temple’s Board of Trustees approved $3.5 million for construction of the Center for Anti-Racism and improvements to the Africology and African American studies department on the sixth and eighth floors of Gladfelter Hall on March 16, The Temple News reported.
Temple announced the creation of the Center for Anti-Racism in September 2020 in its announcement of a $1 million anti-racist initiative, which increased funding for the Africology and African American studies department, created the Cecil B. Moore Scholars program and requiring diversity training for faculty search committees, The Temple News reported.
“I have to give him credit,” Asante said. “[Richard] Englert responded in a very positive way to the national crisis and the demonstrations and to my letter and to the letter from the students in our department.”
In June 2020, Asante and Africology and African American studies graduate students wrote separate letters to Englert asking Temple to create the Center for Anti-Racism during the Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in May 2020 and because Ibram Kendi, a leading anti-racist scholar, graduated from Temple, Asante said.
Kendi, who earned his doctorate in African American studies from Temple in 2010, created the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University before joining the faculty at Boston University to create the Center for Antiracist Research, the Eagle reported.
Temple’s Center for Anti-Racism will house classrooms, department offices and a lecture space, Ibeh said.
“The intent is to bring a lot of activity to that deck area,” Ibeh said. “We wanted the center to have a public face so people can find it.”
Temple completed the most significant renovations to the exterior of Anderson and Gladfelter halls and Anderson Hall’s lobby in December 2020, The Temple News reported.
With approval from the Board of Trustees, the Project Delivery Group will fill out a request for proposal form, which allows contractors to bid on the project, and hire a design team for the center. The design and permitting processes, which the Project Delivery Group started, will take four or five months, Ibeh said.
Temple will also add furniture, paint the walls, replace the flooring and upgrade the ventilation system to the Africology and African American studies department on the sixth and eighth floors of Gladfelter Hall, Ibeh said.
Amid construction of the Center of Anti-Racism and the completion of other demands in Asante’s and the graduate students’ letters, Asante hopes Temple can be a leader in African American culture and history the way that the Africology and African American studies department is, he said.
“We don’t have to look to any other universities for leadership,” Asante said. “Temple can be the leader in these areas.”