A young Holyoke of the Class of 1746 chronicled the happenings at Harvard College before his admission: “1742, June 2. Foundation of the Chapel Laid Some part of ye begin’g of this month. [sic]” Thus he recorded the beginning of a symbolic change in the Harvard Yard: the construction of its first chapel. Despite the many religious commitments of Harvard men, who read the Scriptures multiple times in a day and practiced the teachings of the Bible, a century went by until Holden was built.
Today, the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College is a choir of more than 100 members. Its mission “to express the creativity and spirituality of black people through song” has endured over the years, though the group has experienced many changes and faced various challenges since its founding in 1970. “No one person can understand Kuumba completely,” the choir’s vice president Matthew S. Williams ’14 says. “It’s still a mystery to me how this group has been able to last and maintain so much of what makes it itself for so long.”
At the turn of the 20th century, the Harvard Union was built to provide a club for social purposes open to all Harvard University students; the space was meant to unify a social scene that seemed to be primarily run solely by final clubs and other “elite” institutions.
On January 23, 1957, renowned architect and Dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design Josep Lluís Sert sat down to write a letter. Its mission: Convince the controversial modernist sensation Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, better known as Le Corbusier, to make his first visit to Cambridge. “Is there any chance of getting you to come here sometime next fall or spring?” he wrote. “Both MIT and this School are willing to do their best to get you to come here.”
The first person I met upon entering the line at the Paseo Los Próceres in Caracas, Venezuela, to see the body of the country’s late president, Hugo Chávez, was a dark-skinned man named Feliz. He wore a green mesh shirt and jeans, and his wife stood next to him holding their daughter, who wore a red beret. I introduced myself, and said that I was a college student studying abroad from the United States. He smiled: “You’re a revolutionary, then?”
But this unassuming countenance does little to suggest the small, single-screen movie house’s long influential history. In the 60 years since its opening, the Brattle has helped to transform local film culture, and its influence has extended across the country.