UW Oshkosh commemorated an historical event Wednesday – next week marks the 50th anniversary of Black Thursday.
On November 21st 1968, 94 African American students protested for equal rights on campus.
The protest resulted in mass arrests and expulsion of those students.
36 of the Oshkosh 94 were on campus Wednesday.
“It was more tension after that event regarding racial concerns on campus,” says one of the 94 Jerry Benston Jr. “I think a number of programs changed on campus, I think the university made some major attempts to get more students of color as well as faculty.”
Wednesday night was only a reminder of what was.
A look at how far the university has come and a glance at work still being done.
“Students have always changed things in this country,” says Sylvia Carie-Butler, UW Oshkosh’s Associate vice chancellor for inclusive excellence. “If you go back to the civil rights movement, they’ve always been at the fore, so for me it would be an opportunity to find out what are we doing and how to make it better.”
And there are changes students acknowledge need to be made.
“We need to overcome as a community, come together, no division we have to have equality,” says senior Rajon Hall. “That’s what we’ve been fighting for since all that’s happened. It’s been about 50 years, but it still it’s something.”
The message of the night, college campuses are institutions of change and that change is not complete.
Even 50 years later.
“The struggle continues there are still challenges on college campuses around this country,” says Benston. “College campuses are the third most frequent sites of hate crimes under the auspice of higher education. That’s a sad commentary, but that’s the times that we’re living in.”
Thursday the 36 former students will be taking a tour of campus and ending the day with a conversation with current students at the multi-cultural education center.