The Student News Site of University of Central Missouri

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The Student News Site of University of Central Missouri

Muleskinner

The Student News Site of University of Central Missouri

Muleskinner

Association of Black Collegiates holds rich history on campus

February marks 55th anniversary of student protests that resulted in ABC’s creation
Photo+of+the+1978+Association+of+Black+Collegiates.+Submitted+photo+by+UCM+McClure+Archives.+
Photo of the 1978 Association of Black Collegiates. Submitted photo by UCM McClure Archives.

  Following the landmark Supreme Court case, Brown v. the Board of Education, the university started accepting African-American students the following fall. In 1954, Allene Torrence was accepted as the first African-American student enrolled at the university. 

  Delia Gillis, former Professor of History and Africana Studies at UCM describes the admission of the first Black student at UCM as a “quiet affair,” in her 1992 thesis titled The Desegregation and Integration of Central Missouri State.

  It was not until the spring of 1969 that racial tension came to a head on campus. In Gillis’ thesis, she explains the historical account of the protests that ultimately resulted in the recognition of the Association of Black Collegiates as an official student organization. 

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  On Feb. 17, 1969, a group of Black students requested a university space to meet with members of the Black Panther Party, a Black political organization. After receiving rejection for the request, the students met with 11 friends, who were members of the party, at the Student Union Snack Bar. 

  Tom Edmunds, Dean of Student Personnel Services, ordered students to vacate the Union immediately. Students gathered to protest the administrative action, resulting in a crowd of over 300 students protesting Dean Edmunds’s action. Students who did not leave had their student identification cards confiscated. 17 students from the protest faced disciplinary and legal action. On the following Monday, local officials began arresting accused students on charges of trespassing, and in one case, felonious assault.

  The Student Government Association at the time outwardly expressed support for the Black students affected by the issue. Students demanded that the charges be dismissed, as well as the official recognition of the Association of Black Collegiates from university administration. 

  Following pushback from campus leadership, compromises between students and administration were met. In the spring of 1969, the university recognized the Association of Black Collegiates as an official student organization.

  The Association of Black Collegiates is still active today. The organization is hosted in The Center for Multiculturalism and Inclusivity, located on the third floor of the Elliott Student Union. 

  President of the Black Health Association, Aleyja Baskerville explains how the association of Black Collegiates is a parent organization to other associations on campus. “[The Association of Black Collegiates is] basically over all the Black organizations, like the Black Health Association.    We have sisters of Ujima, Black Male Initiative, things of that sort,” Baskerville said. The Black Health Association’s main goal is to advocate for the health and wellness of Black students on campus.

  “Black Health’s main goal is to be in advocacy of Black health because there are not a lot of organizations on campus that really tie into that. Specially, we’re college students, so we’re worried about mental health, physical health, and things of that nature,” Baskerville said. 

  In contrast with the experiences of African-American students almost 50 Years ago, Baskerville highlights her experiences as an African-American student at UCM. “I don’t feel like I’m an outsider. Everyone has kind of the same goal on campus. We all go to school. We all have things we want to accomplish,” Baskerville said. 

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About the Contributor
Linda Alviar, News Editor
Linda Alviar is a freshman at the University of Central Missouri with a major in communication studies and a minor in political science. As news editor, Alviar is responsible for the news section and the content within it. Alviar also covers the Student Government Association beat. In the future, Alviar plans to pursue a career in Journalism, specifically covering local politics. 

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    Wesley LutherMar 28, 2024 at 6:41 pm

    A interesting story to do would be how CMSU got MLK off.

    Reply