Please visit the links below to see our version of Black History @ UMD
Claiming Their Space: Black Student Activism at the University of Maryland
This exhibit explores Black student activism at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) in the late 1960s, with a focus on the fall of 1968. October was a seminal month in the history of Black student activism at UMD. The Black Student Union (BSU) formed out of a two-year-old student organization called Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), unaffiliated with the national organization of the same name. The BSU realigned their goals from mere integration to equality and Black student solidarity, reflecting national trends in the Black Power movement. This exhibit centers on several incidents in October 1968: the rejection of appointments of radical Black students to the Committee of Meaningful Integration, the October 12 ice pelting incident at a home football game against the University of North Carolina, and the rejection of four unnamed Black women students from a home economics nutrition study. Collectively, these incidents culminated in a rally on October 22 at the Home Economics building. Mixed responses by students and administrators to Black student-centered controversies demonstrated persistent discrimination on the UMD campus and lack of administrative advocacy for Black students.
This exhibit predominantly uses clippings from issues of the UMD student newspaper, Diamondback, found in the University of Maryland’s Student Newspapers database. The Student Newspapers database is a collaboration between the University Archives and the UMD Libraries’ Digital Systems and Stewardship division to digitize and make accessible student newspapers produced on the College Park campus. The database is available for research and educational purposes. For permission to reprint, reproduce, or make other uses of this material, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Currently, the Student Newspapers database contains issues of:
- The Diamondback and its preceding papers between January 1, 1910 - August 21, 2008
- Black Explosion between May 1970 - January 2016
- The Eclipse between September 16, 1985 - May 2013
- Mitzpeh between September 14, 1983 - November 5, 2015
The student curators originally intended to incorporate primary source materials from the University Archives and interviews. Without the ability to access archival collections due to pandemic-related closures, the exhibit mostly features digitized content. The digitized content, mostly Diamondback clippings written from a white student perspective, is located on a timeline. The curators intend to contextualize local events in Civil Rights and Black Power movements and illuminate the curatorial process amidst a world health crisis.
- Timelines: The historical content of this site is concentrated on two timeline pages. The 1968 Timeline focuses on the BSU protests at UMD in October of that year, as well as connected regional, national and international events. The Pre-1968 Timeline gives context for key events that led up to the protests.
- Research Process Notes: Our reflections on the actual process of building an exhibit of this kind, including the limits and opportunities we thought through. We also include a resource guide for future researchers- a selected list of materials we wish we could have explored
- COVID-19: Read about how the Coronavirus intersected with our project which began in March 2020.
- Contributions: A chance to add stories, photos, links or commentary around the BSU Protests of 1968. Dr. Gregory will act as custodian of the site, and the current BSU has been invited to use or steward these materials if /as it may serve their work at any point in time.
This exhibition was curated for a graduate-level museum research seminar by Mateo Arango, Lauren Cain, Wanda Hernández, Kristy Li Puma, Benjamin Shaw, Sarah Wampler, and Alan Wierdak. As a group, they developed a theme, an object list, captions, and from there, designed and installed the digital show. Special thanks to Dr. Quint Gregory for his constant support throughout the course.