The University Archives is the repository for the records documenting the history of the University of Kansas. Included are records and photographs relating to student activities and organizations, chancellors, faculty, athletics, and campus buildings. Those areas relating to African American human rights activities and movements are explained in the boxes below.
Before the well known protests of the 1960s, African American students were concerned with combating racial discrimination with integration. A large group with members from the KU organization of CORE and members of the Henley House held a sit-in at a local cafe on April 15, 1948. At the time, the Kansas Union was the only place on campus that served African Americans and it closed at 7 p.m. After the sit-in, other attempts were made at integrating Lawrence's restaurants but they were largely unsuccessful.
Then beginning in the 1960s no setting was more receptive to the politics of change than university and college campuses across America. Campus unrest gripped hundreds of campuses from coast to coast. The University of Kansas was no exception then and continues to experience student activism today. During the turbulent years of 1965-1970, KU students were passionately involved with the politics, ideas, and conflicts of the larger world. Protests centered on civil rights, the Vietnam War, and gender equality.
The University Archives houses photographs, documents, and scrapbooks, among other items related to Student Organizations. Below are a list of organizations that relate to activism for African American civil rights at the University.
The BSU was created in 1968 [RG 67/13] as an organization dedicated to the needs and desires of black people at KU. They published their own newspaper, The Harambee [UA Ser 67/13/3]; and presented Chancellor Chalmers with a list of demands in 1970. However, the group disbanded in the early 1970s. In 1978, black students formed a new BSU [RG 67/327] that still operates today.
The CRC was involved in several protests including the Civil Rights Housing Picket, Fair Housing Sit-In and March in 1965. They presented a list of demands to Chancellor Wescoe during these protests.
The KU chapter of CORE preceded the main civil rights activism of the 1960s and 1970s. They were concerned with combating racial discrimination off campus in Lawrence and held a sit-in at a local cafe on April 15, 1948.
In the mid-1940s the YWCA initiated the first interracial undergraduate house for women in the University's history. The action caused controversy at a time when both the University and the Lawrence community still sanctioned various forms of segregation.
Included in the general group are chronological records: fliers, news releases, and other material relating to the history of student protests at the University of Kansas and across the country.
Photographs may also be requested. Student protest photographs have been digitized and are part of KU Libraries' Digital Collections.
A list follows of theses and dissertations related to African Americans, Civil Rights Movement, and student activism at the University of Kansas.