History of Campus Demonstrations & Rallies

A guide detailing historical events on the campus of Eastern Michigan University related to student protest and demonstrations

Black Student Association

The Black Student Association (BSA) was created at Eastern Michigan University in March of 1968. The purpose of the organization was to address the issues affecting the black students at the university that were overlooked by the administration. The goal was "to serve and educate the Black community while elevating the consciousness and promoting Unity among all Black organizations, students, faculty and staff at Eastern Michigan University." The main goal during the late 1960s and early 1970s was to gain racial equality and representation at Eastern Michigan University. A list of 11 demands presented by the BSA, included the creation of a Black Studies program, the appointment of an individual with the title Vice President of Minority Affairs, and the creation of a black co-op dorm set aside for students who wished to be housed there. The Black Student Association, renamed the Black Student Union, achieved many of their goals the largest of which was the creation of the Black Studies program, that is now the Department of Africology and African American Studies.

The Black Panthers

Although the Black Panthers were not a student organization, the impact that the group had on students at Eastern Michigan University was significant. The Black Panther Party was founded by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale in October of 1966. It was a black militant political organization that was not afraid to use force to draw attention to their movement and to attain their ideals. Black Panthers were recognized by wearing the groups distinctive black berets and leather jackets. According to the platform of their party the main goal was highlighted in the last of their ten-point plan, "We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice, and peace." There were rallies, marches, and teach-ins all held at Eastern Michigan University that were either sponsored by Black Panther members or were started in support of the organization. One of these included a rally in 1969 where over 200 students marched through campus to the residence of the University President. Footage of this rally can be viewed here.

Students for a Democratic Society

The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was an important student organization involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Their main goal was to bring about equality for all people, making society more democratic. SDS held many protests and rallies and joined with other campus organizations to support the Civil Rights Movement.

Project Credit

The History of Campus Demonstrations guide was created by Aleesa Wright as part of her course work for HIST489L4.