During the 1990-91 academic year, the Multicultural Affairs Advisory Council (MAAC) began discussing the possibility of establishing a Multicultural Center at Kenyon College. Through hard work and the commitment of many students, faculty, and staff, a proposal was submitted to the Senior Staff and Board of Trustees. The proposal was endorsed and a small committee began to lay the groundwork for the Center during the 1991-92 academic year. The grand opening of the Snowden Multicultural Center was on September 12, 1992.
The Center is named for a family of Knox County African-Americans that was famous as a performing musical band from the 1850s until the early 1920s. Thomas and Ellen Snowden, the first Black people in Knox County to be married, came to Ohio in the 1820s in the first wave of immigration to the western frontier.
Illiterate and former slaves, the couple became landowners and farmers in the community of Clinton, north of Mount Vernon. Their seven children attended school, became literate, and played in the family band. The only Snowdens to survive the twentieth century, brothers Benjamin and Lewis, gave concerts on fiddle and banjo from the second-story gable of the family home. Many Knox County residents, particularly African-Americans, believe that the Snowden family wrote the song "Dixie," although it is credited to Daniel Decatur Emmett (also of Mount Vernon). This belief about the Snowden's role in creating an icon of American culture is so strong that the common gravestone of Benjamin and Lewis is engraved, "They taught ‘Dixie’ to Dan Emmett."
The Snowdens faced many challenges of multicultural contact that continued to define the American experience. By naming this building the Snowden Multicultural Center, Kenyon College celebrates its historic link to Knox County, and commemorates a distinguished family's struggles and successes.
Unity House is newly located at the North Campus Apartments (A3). In January of 2003, the Unity House was first established and located at 100A Bexley Place. The center operates foremost as a safe space for Kenyon lesbian, gay, transexual, and queer (LGBTQ) students, faculty, administration, and staff, but is also intended to be an open and welcoming place for all members of the Kenyon College community.
Unity House serves to offer a supportive, educational, social and cultural environment in order to enhance awareness and acceptance about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and ally concerns throughout the Kenyon College community. This house strives to erase stigma associated with the non-heterosexual community and promote greater equality on and off campus.
Chris Kennerly, Associate Dean of Students, serves as the administrative liaison for the house. The house is maintained by student managers and programming occurs with the help of a Program Board; interested students, faculty, administrators and staff, regardless of sexual orientation, are encouraged to join the programming board and help facilitate the house goals.
General Info: Unity House is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the academic year. Building is open for meetings and public use. House policies, mission statement, and availability of facility are available upon request from the House managers.
House Managers: These students change yearly, please contact Chris Kennerly, firstname.lastname@example.org for info.