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The Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices

Black Voices: Celebrating the legacy of Herman C. Hudson

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Herman C. Hudson, born on Feb. 16, 1923, has created a legacy for the Black community on IU’s campus. Hudson was a man of Black excellence and education. He founded one of seven culture centers on campus, after just one year of being at IU. 

Hudson was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and died in 1999. After receiving his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan, he came to IU in 1968. This was just one year before the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center came to be. 

After founding the center, he built six programs catering to Black students and faculty: African American Studies, IU Soul Revue, African American Dance Company, Arts Institute, Choral Ensemble and the Minority Achievers Program, which became the Hudson and Holland Scholars Program.  

This was Hudson: despite being blind, he had a vision he wasn’t afraid to execute.  

Charles Sykes, director of the African American Arts Institute, was a graduate student at IU when Hudson was still here. Sykes was able to witness the impact Hudson had on campus. 

“He was a Black visionary and built a foundation that was meant to last,” Sykes said. “He wore lot of hats. He was the person advocating, hiring Black faculty, and developing a Black presence to the university.” 

As one of IU’s first African American leaders, Hudson’s time was spent building a community and outlets for Black students to be themselves in Bloomington.

“Herman Hudson’s commitment to IU was unwavering, and his legacy is visible every day in the achievements of our students, faculty, and staff,” IU President Pamela Whitten wrote in an email to students on Feb. 21. 

Hudson was a believer of the power of education and African American studies, and he built environments around just that. 

Freshman SaMya Miller was looking for scholarships the summer of 2022 where she found the Hudson and Holland program and applied for a scholarship. Although she wanted to play basketball at an Illinois college, she knew IU would have better opportunities for her. 

“I think it’s like a family thing,” Miller said. “I’m so far from home and miss my family but when I’m here, I’m really comfortable and it’s like a family environment.,” 

Mimi Attenoukon, assistant director of the Hudson and Holland Program, thinks Hudson’s legacy is still strong today, living on with current and future scholars.  

James P. Holland was also one of the founders of the program and came to IU to study zoology and eventually became an associate professor for the IU Department of Biology. Alongside Hudson, he worked to organize summer programs for high school students and summer research programs for college undergraduates.  

“The students in the program really strive for excellence,” Attenoukon said. “That's what Herman C. Hudson wanted for the program when it started as the Minority Achievement Program just wanted to express enormous gratitude to Herman C. Hudson and James P. Holland for their vision. Had it not been for them I wouldn’t be talking to you.”  

A series of events and activities will be held on campus to remember Hudson’s legacy and leadership.  

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