University of Arkansas Provides Online Record of an Early Black Student Group on Campus

The University of Arkansas Library has digitized two of its Black history collections and made them available online. Both collections relate to the organization Black Americans for Democracy, a student group at the university during the late 1960s through the 1970s.

The group was organized following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. It sponsored lectures and films and served as an advocacy group for issues of particular interest to African American students on campus. In 1979 the group changed its name to Students Taking a New Direction. Eventually the organization evolved into what is now the Black Students Association.

One digital collection includes all 20 issues of the BAD Times, the organization’s newspaper. The second collection includes documents relating to the organization, including minutes of its meetings, photographs, and other documents pertaining to Black Americans for Democracy.

“These collections detail an important time in American history,” said university archivist Amy Allen. “They illustrate how a small group of students worked to make a difference in the condition of their everyday lives on the University of Arkansas campus.”

The archives can be accessed here.

Pictured below is a 1974 photograph from an issue of the BAD Times showing the university’s first “Black homecoming maids and their escorts.”


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