A sampling of excerpts from the university’s archives provides a window into the African-American experience at VCU and its predecessors.
While Black History Month has its roots in 1926, when historian Carter G. Woodson started Negro History Week, it first expanded to a month-long celebration on a college campus. Black United Students, a student organization at Kent State University, proposed the expansion and in 1970 was the first to celebrate Black History Month. In 1976, it was officially recognized by President Gerald R. Ford.
As colleges across the U.S. continue the tradition of paying tribute to the achievements and contributions of African-Americans this month, there is much to be learned from taking an introspective look at the African-American experience at Virginia Commonwealth University and its predecessor schools.
VCU Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives offer a wealth of information and resources on a wide range of topics, including an impressive amount of archival material chronicling the university’s history. Student newspapers, yearbooks, oral histories, books on the university’s history and other primary sources can be accessed anytime as part of VCU Libraries’ Digital Collections. The excerpts below relating to the African-American experience are just a small portion of the resources available in the collection, and the VCU community is encouraged to explore them to learn more at dig.library.vcu.edu.