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Black Power on Campus

The University of Illinois, 1965-75

Joy Ann WIlliamson

Publication Year: 2013

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.

Published by: University of Illinois Press


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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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pp. 4-9


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pp. 10-11

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pp. xi-xii

This book has not been an individual endeavor. Several colleagues and friends contributed to it and sustained me through the writing process. James Anderson, Anthony Antonio, Ronald Butchart, Larry Cuban, and David Tyack read various chapters at different stages. They were very generous with their time, and their expertise greatly improved ...


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pp. xiii-15

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pp. 1-5

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 ...

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1. Black Youth Forcing Change

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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 ...

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2. From Negro to Black: The Black Students Association

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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 ...

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3. The Special Educational Opportunities Program [Includes Image Plates]

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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 ...

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4. The Launching of a Movement

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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. ...

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5. “We Hope for Nothing; We Demand Everything”

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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 ...

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6. A Lasting Influence

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pp. 134-143

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. ...

Appendix A: List of Interviewees

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pp. 145-168

Appendix B: BSA Demands

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pp. 146-148


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pp. 149-179


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pp. 181-192

E-ISBN-13: 9780252095801
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252028298

Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 2013