Via a mix of recorded and live material, Brown Paper Studio presents a collage of conversations with elder Black women of the Five Colleges and community about the history of New Africa House and the impact of Black culture in the Valley.
Diana Ramos deserves special mention as one of the pioneering women of New Africa House and of progressive Black consciousness on UMass campus. The establishment of the New Africa Theater is testimony to Prof Ramos’ profound, enduring influence as an artist, educator and community builder. Her studio epitomized the welcoming, creative atmosphere of the building during that era. Diana Ramos left UMass in the aftermath of a bitter battle where she was denied tenure. Although students protested the decision, she left after ten years as faculty. Her departure was a great loss. The spirit of Sankofa teaches us “it is not taboo to go back and fetch what was lost” and with the ground-breaking collaboration between the departments of Afro-American Studies and Theater, Prof Ramos’ legacy continues to grow. Naming the basement's performance space in her honor as the Diana Ramos Studio Theater would be a fitting tribute.