Black Power on Campus

Black Power on Campus: The University of Illinois, 1965-75

JOY ANN WILLIAMSON
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 216
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/j.ctt3fh40w
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Black Power on Campus
    Book Description:

    Joy Ann Williamson charts the evolution of black consciousness on predominately white American campuses during the critical period between the mid-1960s and mid-1970s, with the Black student movement at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign serving as an illuminating microcosm of similar movements across the country. Nationwide black student college enrollment doubled from 1964 to 1970, with the greatest increase occurring at mostly white universities. As Williamson shows, however, increased admission did not bring with it increased acceptance. Confronted with institutional apathy or even hostility, African Americans began organizing. Drawing on student publications of the late 1960s and early 1970s, as well as interviews with former administrators, faculty, and student activists, Williamson discusses the emergence of Black Power ideology, what constitutes “blackness,� and notions of self-advancement versus racial solidarity. Promoting an understanding of social protest and measuring the impact of black student activism on an American university, Black Power on Campus is an important contribution to the broader literature on African American liberation movements, the role of black youth in protest movements, and the reform of American higher education.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09580-1
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    The history of Black students at predominantly white colleges and universities is a complicated one of discrimination, racism, protest, and resilience. Their experience, mode of resistance, and focal point for protest shifted over time and closely mirrored the ebb and flow of the Black freedom struggle in the United States. An unwavering belief in the importance of education made schools, including postsecondary institutions, an important battleground for Black liberation efforts. Black students became the battering rams and in many ways the vanguard of the struggle for equal education. From the late 1960s through the early 1970s, in particular, Black college...

  6. 1 Black Youth Forcing Change
    (pp. 7-34)

    African Americans at white universities in the first half of the twentieth century, though few in number, protested the treatment they received on their campuses. Their grievances often were individual and arose in response to particular acts, but various African American students did not idly accept the abuse they received. As the Black freedom struggle gained momentum in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, so, too, did Black student struggles at white higher educational institutions. African Americans more aggressively attacked racism and segregation with coordinated protest. African Americans students, like African Americans in general, manifested the spectrum of opinion on how...

  7. 2 From Negro to Black: The Black Students Association
    (pp. 35-55)

    The mid-1960s continued to be difficult for African American students at the University of Illinois in terms of numerical isolation and alienation from campus social activities. By 1967, only 223 African American undergraduates attended Illinois, a modest increase from the middle of the century and still only 1 percent of the student population.¹ However, the civil rights movementʹs successes and ever-increasing African American demands for equality and respect influenced Illinois students, and some involved themselves in protests around campus. As the prevailing ideology of the African American freedom struggle shifted, so too did African American Illinois student attitudes on appropriate...

  8. 3 The Special Educational Opportunities Program
    (pp. 56-80)

    The federal government initiated various policies amid the growing urgency of racial reconciliation in the 1960s. The 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Higher Education Act were enacted against the backdrop of the Black liberation struggle. Higher education institutions were affected by these federal policies, and many, including the University of Illinois, genuinely believed that universities had an important role to play in alleviating racial injustice and took steps to use their campuses as tools for societal reform. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnsonʹs Executive Order Number 11246 further challenged American institutions to play a role. The executive order provided...

  9. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  10. 4 The Launching of a Movement
    (pp. 81-111)

    The new SEOP students, like many beginning freshmen, eagerly anticipated the start of the academic year. The continuing students were excited to see their new recruits and ready to get them acclimated to campus. SEOP students and BSA volunteers lived together in Illinois Street Residence Hall (ISR), a highly coveted residence hall, during SEOP orientation week. Though placement tests occupied much of their time, the week spent together fostered a sense of closeness and cohesiveness. The initial intent was not to politicize the SEOP students, but together the new and continuing students would have a baptism by fire a full...

  11. 5 “We Hope for Nothing; We Demand Everything”
    (pp. 112-133)

    The federal government, individual states, and various colleges and universities responded to the rise in youth activism on campuses with various forms of legislation in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The new bills, laws, and amendments differed from state to state and from university to university, but all were created to deter and punish certain kinds of activism. Black and white students were the targets of the legislation.¹ Campuses across the nation exploded, and the American public questioned the ability of university administrators to maintain control. Illinois created its own protocol for dealing with disruptive students and sought to...

  12. 6 A Lasting Influence
    (pp. 134-144)

    By the mid-1970s, Black student attempts to use Black Power ideology and principles to reform the University of Illinois bore fruit and changed the campus permanently. Their efforts had increased Black student enrollment and led to the creation of the Afro-American Studies and Research Program and the Afro-American Cultural Program. Moreover, Black students were able to force the university administration into more aggressive action on other issues, such as creating a commission to hear Black student grievances, hiring Black faculty, reexamining hiring policies for university staff, and devising outreach programs to the Champaign-Urbana community.¹ The university was not unconcerned with...

  13. APPENDIXES
  14. NOTES
    (pp. 149-180)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 181-192)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 193-194)