This February, we are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Black Student Union (BSU) at the University of Idaho with a new exhibit in the University of Idaho Library. A coordinated effort from the Black History Research Lab, the Library’s Data and Digital Services, and the Library’s Special Collections and Archives, we have created both a physical and digital exhibit highlighting Black history at the University of Idaho.
The Black Student Union was started in 1971, by 6 student: Jesse Craig, Adrian Prince, Jay Wheeler, Loren Dantzler, Robert Lee Williams, and Malcolm Smith. The BSU was created to give Black students on campus a sense of community and to help spread understanding of Black culture to the university’s predominantly white campus. Since it’s inception, the BSU has fluctuated in participation and gone through a few name changes. In the 1980s, it became the Black and African Student Association (BASA) for a time; in the 1990s, it was the Recognizing African American Concerns and Education (RAACE). In 2005, it returned to it’s original name, the Black Student Union. The physical exhibit discusses this history and more, while also highlighting other notable Black students and organizations on campus.
The exhibit is on display through March 4th, so stop by the 1st floor of the University of Idaho Library to see it. And if you can’t make it in person, you can learn even more at the digital collection Black History at the University of Idaho