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Essence of Ebony Ball

The Essence of Ebony Ball was held by the Ethnic Minorities Cultural Education Center and sponsored by the Black Student Union (BSU) starting roughly around 1995. This event was held annually until around 2002. Centered around Black History month, every February, either kicking off or concluding the month, the ball would typically be held in the commons ballroom on University of Northern Iowa’s campus in their Maucker Union. The crowning of a king and queen would take place during the event. Students interested in being nominated to be royalty of the event would apply with an extracurricular essay and a resume. The decision would be made by a panel of judges that evening. Vocal performances, poetry readings, and DJ’s would all be a collective part of the different activities offered during the event. This event was open to all students but was predominantly held for students within the Black Student Union organization as a way to express and explore their identity. After research was conducted within the University’s special collections and archives, it was shown that the Essence of Ebony Ball was the original name for the event, but has also been called the Essence of Elegance, Evening of Elegance and the Ancestral Ball.