The African–American Student Union (AASU) at HBS emerged from the turbulence of the late 1960s, years marked by large–scale urban riots across the country, protests against the Vietnam War, and the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. In 1968, AASU was launched as the Afro–American Student Union. Its founders were committed to addressing challenges they experienced as a racial minority in the classroom as well as broader socio–economic issues faced by African Americans nationwide. In a letter to faculty members, they stated: "(1) the seriousness of the racial situation and the socioeconomic condition of Black people demand a major and positive response from all institutions which form part of our society; and (2) Harvard Business School, as one of the major educational institutions in the nation, must accept its share of the challenges and risks associated with the upgrading of educational opportunities of Blacks and other minority groups."5
Darden is Professor in Organizational Theory and Management, Emeritus at Pepperdine University's School of Business. He is author of 34 cases and several book chapters on management. Darden served on the Harvard University Board of Overseers Visiting Committee for HBS from 1995 through 2000.
Willis was the first African American graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia in 1962. He became the first African American head of HBS's Business Assistance Program in Roxbury. He has been a key activist leader in the community development efforts of major U.S. cities including San Francisco and Los Angeles and runs a real estate consultancy firm in Los Angeles.
An author and public speaker, Lambert founded and led Centennial One, a building services contracting company that grew to 1,200 employees in six states and over $20 million in revenue. She ran the enterprise for 25 years. Lambert received the Alumni Achievement Award, the highest honor conferred by HBS, in 2003.
Lewis worked in a number of executive search firms and consulting companies. He has provided senior–level strategic management advice and recruitment leadership as a member of McKinsey & Co., Russell Reynolds, and Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting) senior management. He also serves on the boards of A Better Chance (ABC) and Early Steps.
After graduation Price worked in international marketing for Levi Strauss in the company's headquarters in San Francisco and also in Oslo, Norway and Brussels, Belgium. He led efforts advising the company not to manufacture products in South Africa during apartheid. He also served as a strategic consultant to several African American companies. Price, who died in 2012, founded Price & Associates, a venture development firm, based in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Letter to faculty member from members of the AASU, April 25, 1969. AASU Records, Baker Library, Harvard Business School.
Clifford E. Darden in “African-American Student Union Marks 25 Years at HBS,” 37.
Clifford E. Darden in Jennifer Gillespie, ed., “We Were Just Doing What Needed to Be Done,” Harvard Business School Bulletin, March 2018, 60.
Interview with A. Leroy Willis. “The African-American Student Union of HBS: A Salute to the Past, A Challenge to the Future” (014871962_VT_0006), 1994. Baker Library, Harvard Business School.
A. Leroy Willis in Gillespie, ed., “We Were Just Doing What Needed to Be Done,” 59—60.
Interview with Lillian Lincoln Lambert, “The African-American Student Union of HBS: A Salute to the Past, A Challenge to the Future” (014871962_VT_0006), 1994. Baker Library, Harvard Business School.
Lillian Lincoln Lambert in Gillespie, ed., “We Were Just Doing What Needed to Be Done,” 61.
E. Theodore Lewis Jr. in Gillespie, ed., “We Were Just Doing What Needed to Be Done,” 59.
Interview with E. Theodore Lewis, “The African-American Student Union of HBS: A Salute to the Past, A Challenge to the Future.”
Lewis in Gillespie, ed., “We Were Just Doing What Needed to Be Done,” 60.
Luci Horton, “A Slice of Life Drawn from the Ghetto,” Ebony, February 1974, 82.