Black student activism to be examined at forum


Student activism has played a powerful role at U-M over the years. Particularly from the 1960s to the present, students have spoken out about issues on campus and across the country.

The history of modern black student activism — from the 1968 protest at Hill Auditorium following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to the recent #BBUM movement last fall — will be discussed at “The Power of Protest: Black Student Activism at the University of Michigan.”

The free public forum will be from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday in Room 5511 Haven Hall.  Sponsors include the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS); the Black Student Union and the United Coalition for Racial Justice.

The first, second and third Black Action Movements on campus, as well as the Tower Takeover at the Michigan Union in 2000, will also be discussed at the forum.

Erick Gavin, the public relations chair of the Black Student Union, stands in front of the #BBUM board in the Fishbowl. (Photo by Tyrell Collier)

The forum is a follow-up to a discussion sponsored by DAAS last March about the March on Detroit, which preceded the March on Washington in 1963, according to Elizabeth James, program manager for DAAS.

Factors that led to successful protests — from sit-ins and strikes to social media campaigns — and how they have changed over the years also will be highlighted.

The forum will be led by James and Stephen Ward, associate professor of social theory and practice in the Residential College, who also teaches in DAAS. He is an expert on African-American political thought and the Black Power Movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

“The effectiveness of the various protests and the quest to increase diversity on campus will be examined during the discussion,” James said. “We will examine the demands made by BAM and whether they have been met. We look forward to discussing the ways that students and their allies have expressed their concerns in a meaningful way.”



  1. dawud love
    on January 19, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Wake up!! These student should look back at the mistake from the 60’s. Integration has destroyed their communities, the average black have no wealth. You will look back then look now and see equality was a mistake and used against blacks. The 13 amendment was for everyone which weakened the so called movement. They should have ask for justice. The justice the Japanese American got and in a similar way the native American (cash). Can Obama fix black problems? No. So how can the 13th amendment and equality help blacks. God does not treat people equally but with justice, but even this fact is hidden. Look back and look now. The issues blacks had in 1860 they have now. No justice; 287,000 blacks owned 1/2 of 1% of the wealth in america, in 2014 its the same. blacks now are more socially backwards than in anytime in history and in place on earth (music filled with disease, it has an effect). Ask your grandparents about Amos and Andy. they wanted this image erased but now its pervasive in the black mind. The so called movement was a sword in the heart of the black community. Now you students are left with a legacy to abandon your communities and kick your children out the house. Few will return in just a few years to care for elderly parents (to busy chasing the dollar just to pay bills and disconnected- living in another state). Without black communities blacks will never have wealth thus power and control. You students need to know that jobs do not create wealth it pays bills. You own nothing. drive through the communities of other people and ask how can they afford luxury(its your money). They live to give a legacy power and control to your children not government programs. Learn the 3 R’s and learn to think creatively. Return to your neighborhoods and create communities. You will never fit into American way of life until you compete. Do not think a Phd will give you power and control. It will leave you hollow inside and your children unprotected by those who wish to harm.
    With all your getting get understanding. Understand the mistakes your people have made. Stop following Johnny come lately, lewdness, lack of empathy, black racism. Learn principles that cause you to live upright, promotes black communities, knowledge of self and those that want to harm you.
    Challenge curriculums. they leave you weak and programmed unable to think outside models created to make you submit and think backwards. Stop feeding off events, this is a test to see where your mind is.

    Weak minds discuss people, mediocre minds discuss EVENTS, and great minds discuss ideas.

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