Black History Month Events

February 4th, 2015

College Library is delighted to partner with the 2015 Black History Month Student Planning Committee (AASAS) to showcase a number of exhibitions and displays which celebrate black activism. Visitors to the second floor of the library will find an installation of photographs documenting past and present student activism at the University of Wisconsin. Curated by Karla Foster of the Division of Diversity, Equity, & Educational Achievement with the help of Harvey Long, an ARL/SAA Mosaic Fellow and graduate student in the School of Library & Information Studies, the fifteen images were drawn from the collection of the UW Archives and from participants in the “Black Lives Matter” protest held in December 2014.


College Library figured prominently in the protest with marchers staging a “die-in” on all three floors of the library. Several of the photographs on display were taken inside the library during the protest that evening. The juxtaposition of the black & white photographs from the archives and the color images from a few months ago helps underline the fact that struggle for equality and civil rights is never over.

In addition to the photographs, the Silver Buckle Press has lent to the exhibition a series of prints by Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. A letterpress printer and bookbuilder based in Gordo, Alabama, Kennedy, at the age of forty and unsatisfied with his comfortable, middle-class life, traded in his computer for a printing press. He is the subject of the Brown Finch Films documentary “Proceed and Be Bold!” and his letterpress work raises emotionally charged questions about race and social justice.IMG_2864

Three large posters can also be found in the Ethnic Studies Collection, Room 1193. Working with archival materials, Harvey Long has illustrated black history as it relates to UW-Madison. The timeline he has put together showcases the racial progress made in Madison’s history, as well as the challenges that highlight the importance of Black History Month.

To round out the event, there is also a display of books and videos which celebrate black activism in the United States. It is located just outside the entrance to the Computer Lab (Room 2250) on the library’s second floor.

Members of the student planning committee are: Jordan Gaines (chair), Brian Allen, Shade Adu, Amani Breanna Alexander, Jasmine Bhatia, Kenneth Cole, Daniel Dallas, Alexis Coleman, Arlyn Reed, and Anthony Wright. Visit the “Creating Community” website for more information on events related to Black History Month.


Photos from the University Archives


Students hold up signs in protest over the elimination of the Afro-American and Native American Cultural Centers in 1973 at the Board of Regents meeting. [S00538]


Anti-racism protest – November 11, 1987 [S00665]


Anti-racism protest, November 11, 1987 [S00662]


The Mu Chapter of Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) is suspended for racial insensitivity in 1987 when members put on blackface and erect a cardboard caricature complete with exaggerated facial features. African-American students protest. [S00655]

Slave Auction

In 1988, Zeta Beta Tau pledges blacken their faces and wear Afro wigs during a mock slave auction. The Black Student Union organizes a ”Day of Outrage Against Racism. [S15014]

Sena Curtis

At a tuition protest Sena Curtis paints a message against an increase in tuition. Photo by Jeff Miller. [S00849]


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