The Mitchell-White House is a Black Cultural Living and Learning Community at Duke University. After the closing of Central Campus in 2019, which meant the subsequent closing of the Black Cultural Living Group location, Black undergraduate students sought a residential community where they would feel safe and secure without surveillance and learn about their history to foster leadership and change. After hearing these concerns, a small group of Black student leaders organized and founded the Mitchell-White House to open in fall 2020.
The House is named after Mary Mitchell-Harris and Nathaniel White, two of the first five Black students who integrated Duke University in 1963. Mary Mitchell-Harris and Nathaniel White are both Durham natives who graduated valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, from Hillside High School. Mary Mitchell-Harris and Nathaniel White are trailblazers at Duke and in Durham and epitomize our vision for Black student leaders in the Mitchell-White House. Before Mary Mitchell-Harris’s death in 2002, she maintained a steadfast relationship with her alma mater and hometown. Mr. Nathaniel White continues an intimate relationship with the University and Durham, as he routinely visits campus and upholds a prominent reputation in Durham.
As a Black Cultural Living and Learning Community, our mission is to learn about the people of the African diaspora and cultivate community amongst its members and allies. The Living and Learning Community seeks to facilitate an exchange of culture and history between its members. In addition to experiential learning, students will engage with texts, archival materials and off campus enrichment opportunities that address the topics of leadership, identity, and culture across the African diaspora at Duke and in Durham. The House will provide a unique space to connect with fellow students, faculty, administrators, alumni, and community leaders and cultivate Black change agents in our communities.
The logo of the Mitchell-White House Living and Learning Community reflects the aim of our house: to learn about the people of the African diaspora and cultivate community amongst its members and allies. This symbol features two hands engaged in a fist bump, which is a common informal greeting often used amongst friends. It signifies the comradery and friendly rapport we seek to establish among our residents. These power fists are a reminder of the Living and Learning Community’s dedication to embracing our history and wielding it to overcome the odds we face in our endless pursuit of equity.
Throughout the academic year, students will indulge in programming in the House that promote the mission of the house and learning goals, including the following: to indulge in the meaning and pursuit of Black liberation, to acquire experiential knowledge about the various identities across the African diaspora, to develop a deeper understanding of what it means to be Black with special regard to intersecting identities, and to enrich learning about the history of the people of the African diaspora.