“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
Student activism has and continues to serve as a critical component to the development of a truly democratic society. The collections featured here are from various colleges and universities and they highlight the struggles, victories, and challenges of student movements throughout history.
Connect with these participating institutions to learn more.
The Black Student Association Publications collection includes Drums (November 1967-October 31, 1969) and The Black Rap (March 17, 1969-1971), Yombo (1971-1974) and Irepodun yearbook (1972-1973), all published by the Black Student Association (BSA). BSA formed in 1967, and Drums was the first newsletter/newspaper published the same year. In 1969, Drums was renamed Black Rap. The earliest year that the archives have for the Yombo is 1971 (Yombo is a Swahili word for a greeting). It is unclear when it started or how often it was published. The Irepodun was created in 1972 and 1973 (Irepodun is Swahili for “Unity is a Must”). It was a yearbook for black students (The University of Illinois also has a yearbook called the Illio).
Materials within the collection include feature articles, editorials, poetry, book reviews, cartoons, photographs, announcements and advertisements about the University, Champaign-Urbana, police, Vietnam, racism, Black events, education, employment opportunities, and white society. BSA students, particularly in the 1960s, had an interest in connecting with the community, as reflected in the publications. Other goals included informing other black students of social and political issues around the University, the community, and the national Black Power Movement. Yombo and the Irepodun also feature quite a bit of poetry and images relating to the performing arts. Many alumni expressed to Joy Williamson, author of Black Power on Campus the University of Illinois 1965-75, that these publications had more positive images that did not reflect some of the negative stereotypes that African Americans were often associated with in the mainstream media.
Although the current processed collection is only .3 cubic feet, Visiting Archives Research Librarian, Jessica Elizabeth Ballard reports that the size will most likely change as the University of Illinois Archives recently received a large collection from the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center. Since its construction in 1969, the Center has been a hub for many black students and affiliated organizations. The Black Rap materials, for instance, will grow from 1969 to 1971 holdings to issues dating to 1974. The Black Rap resurfaced from 1993 through 1994, but the materials are still unprocessed. Though the late 1960s and early 1970s saw an increased black student population that was also very socially and politically active, the voices of students producing work on campus are not currently represented within the collection. Through the growth of the collection from the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center materials, we look forward to learning about what other generations of students have been discussing and creating since.
In the fall of 2016, Project STAND (Student Activism Now Documented) was established to initially bring together academic institutions across the state of Ohio and discuss ways to share information about the collections and materials related to student activism on their campuses, with a primary focus on marginalized student identities (African American, LGBTQ, Chicano/a, differently abled, Asian Americans, indigenous populations etc.) This exciting initiative was initially conceived by Lae’l Hughes-Watkins, University Archivist at Kent State University who reached out to Tamar Chute, University Archivist at The Ohio State University, on the possibility of creating a centralized hub for academic archives focusing on underrepresented communities’ engagement in social justice activities on and off campus.
Project STAND is an online clearinghouse where academic institutions can provide researchers a centralized access point to historical and archival documentation on the development and on-going occurrences of student dissent. Project STAND focuses on digital and analog primary sources that document the activities of student groups that represent the concerns of historically marginalized communities (e.g., African American, Chicano/a, LGBTQ, religious minorities, disabled, etc.). STAND will also highlight the work of others (e.g., faculty, staff, and administrators) who advocate for or support the interests of those communities.
More information about participating institutions can be found here.
Interested in joining Project Stand? Please submit some information about your institution’s collection.