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15 Evanston Ave.

15 Evanston Ave.

Zoë Hill '22 January 06, 2023

Food equals family to residents of 15 Evanston Ave. 

The Black Action Through Unity house served as a space for Black community members to come together to study, socialize, help one another and even share a meal, recalled residents from 2015 and 2016. 

As BATU’s president during her senior year, Adanna Smith ’16 lived in the tan house on Evanston Avenue. She remembered students coming in and out of the house for many reasons, but mostly to hang out or catch up on laundry. 

Illustration of BATU house with music notes swirling around it.
Illustration by Kevin Johnson.


“We really liked to keep it as an open and safe space for Black students on campus,” Smith said. “It was just really nice to be able to come together as that small minority community to be in a safe space and kind of just be very familial.” 

As someone who loves to cook, Smith added her own special touch to dinners. She and her BATU housemates Teejai Dorsey ’16, Alissa Bryant ’16, Alexander Key, Alexis Wingfield ’18 and Candace Keese Jones would set up card tables and invite friends over for home-cooked meals. 

Smith remembered that her grandmother came to campus and cooked for her mother, C. LaShea Smith Lofton ’91, when she studied at UD. So, when a BATU potluck sprouted from the weekly family dinners, Smith knew who she had to call. 

“My grandma came to campus, and we threw down.”

“My grandma came to campus, and we threw down,” Smith said. “I mean, there was food for days.” 

Between music, card games and backyard lounging, the potluck was a huge success, according to Smith. The big winner of the night, though, was her grandma’s banana pudding. It was worth fighting over, and people did just that, Smith said. 

For Smith, the house adorned with the club’s letters painted in the colors of the Black liberation flag — yellow, green, red and black — was a place where important things took place. Not only was it where people could come together, but also it was where a lot of organizing, advocacy and outreach happened during a time 

My Old House: 15 Evanston Ave.