In 2013, Barnard College celebrated Ntozake Shange (BC ‘70) with an interdisciplinary public symposium, faculty seminar, and student showcase (The Worlds of Ntozake Shange), which led to an ongoing and unprecedented pedagogical partnership with an alum who is also a feminist icon. Ntozake’s unexpected passing in 2018 was deeply felt by the students, faculty and staff whose lives she touched with her words, her presence, and the generous gift of her archives to Barnard. 

Part of the attraction of housing her collection in the Barnard Archives was the promise that her papers would help create a space on campus, that she, then the young Paulette Williams, needed as a young Black woman coming to voice at Barnard College. Indeed, much of Ntozake’s oeuvre is unusually focused on these ‘girls to come’ and on the women that they can become, once given support and inspiration for expressing their fullest selves. As such, following her passing, faculty, staff, and students felt a need to come together to honor her memory and long connection to the college.

With the support of a President’s Research Award, the staff of the Barnard Archives, Africana Studies, English, and Barnard Library and Information Sciences (BLAIS) engaged in a two-year celebration of Ntozake Shange's life and legacy. Read more about and watch recordings of events from the Shange Magic Project, and learn about Shange's long connection to Barnard College, in the timeline below. 

To learn more about the Shange Magic Project, the Ntozake Shange Papers, or other Shange efforts at Barnard College, please email and