Black Student Activism in Camden
This collection consists of student publications, flyers, and other materials related to the Black student protest movement at Rutgers-Camden (formerly Rutgers College of South Jersey). Of particular interest is the list of 24 demands issued by the Black Student Unity Movement (BSUM) on February 10, 1969, President Mason W. Gross’s letter to BSUM members Thomas Warren and Roy Jones, and the related memos from the university administration. To gain attention for their pressing concerns, BSUM initiated a dramatic protest action, taking over the College Center (now called Campus Center) in Camden on February 26, 1969, at the same time as the Conklin Hall takeover unfolded in Newark.
Several archival items demonstrate how BSUM protesters aligned themselves with the Black People’s Unity Movement (BPUM), a Black Power organization in Camden led by Charles “Poppy” Sharp.
Issues of the Black Observer newspaper and the Khuluma newsletter produced in the late 1960s and early 1970s showcase Black students’ art, poetry, political analysis, and community engagement.
To learn more about the history of Black student protest at Rutgers-Camden, see the chapter “A Second Founding: The Black and Puerto Rican Student Revolution at Rutgers-Camden and Rutgers-Newark” by Beatrice J. Adams, Jesse Bayker, Roberto C. Orozco, and Brooke A. Thomas in our book Scarlet and Black, Volume 3: Making Black Lives Matter at Rutgers, 1945-2020.
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