Harambee House opened with the mission to provide a central location to meet the needs of Black students.
The history of Harambee House dates back to May 31, 1969, when the alumnae of Alpha Kappa Chi (AKX), the Wellesley classical society, voted to close their house and return it to the College. The members of Ethos, a student organization for students of African descent that had been established in 1968, and the College Administration began completing plans to convert AKX into the campus' Black Student Center, to be called Harambee [Swahili for "working together"] House. In September of 1970, Harambee House officially opened with the mission to provide a central location to meet the needs of Black students including studying, tutoring, and social events, while serving as a cultural resource for Black heritage to enlighten the college community at large.
Harambee House features a spacious reception area and living room on the upper level tastefully decorated with Africana-inspired paintings and sculptures. Adjacent to the living room is the library, a treasure trove of Africana resources and documentaries, featuring books, newspapers, and magazines, most of which are written by or relating to people of African descent. Because of its inspiring features, Harambee House is a meeting space for many organizations and departments on campus. The House also features a full kitchen and den on the lower level. In addition, there are computers available for Harambee House student use.
Harambee House remains an attractive space for students because it continues to be a comfortable and welcoming space, both physically and socially. A long standing hub of support for many generations of Wellesley students of African descent, Harambee House is still considered a "home away from home" for many students. Along with the magnificent study and relaxation space it provides, the house also hosts a variety of cultural events, lectures, and receptions throughout the year.