Black Collegians’ History Unveiled in New Exhibit

The tumultuous period of social change in the 1960s and 1970s was reflected on Lafayette’s campus in a number of ways, one of which was the founding of Association of Black Collegians in 1968, representing the 40 black students enrolled at the time.

An exhibit, Association of Black Collegians: 1969-1979, is on display in the EPI/Riley Temple Gallery of Portlock Black Cultural Center. The opening featured a panel discussion including Robert Young ’14, Larry Lennon ’71, a founding member of ABC, and Diane Shaw, College archivist and director of special collections.

Larry Lennon ’71 (L-R), Diane Shaw, and Robert Young ’14

Larry Lennon ’71 (L-R), Diane Shaw,
and Robert Young ’14

Young, who curated the exhibit along with John McKnight, dean of intercultural development, selected materials from research he conducted over the summer in the College archives.

“I wanted to share this important history with all of the campus,” says Young. “Especially at this time—another historic moment—when we had the most students of color ever in the incoming class.”

The exhibit includes photographs, excerpts from publications and newspaper articles, as well as the “Black Manifesto” presented to the trustees in 1969. The five demands were: 1) more black students, 2) add black and African American studies to the curriculum, 3) more black faculty members and administrators, 4) a black cultural center, and 5) end or neutralize the effects of racism on the campus.