In 1969, Black students at the University of Wisconsin took action to address the University's neglect of and veiled hostility toward the needs of the Black community. These students conveyed their demands, including the establishment of a Black Studies department, to the University administration. The images below document how Wisconsin responded to those Black students and over 10,000 other people on campus who stood up with them. This is our institutional legacy. We must know this history to understand the deep, persistent currents that have led us to #theRealUW.
These images are scans from Richard Faverty & Joel Brenner's On Strike – Shut It Down (Madison: Beckett Associates, 1969), a book I happened across on a shelf in UW-Madison's Memorial Library while searching for something else. Such is the serendipity of browsing the stacks.
Note the limited number of Black students captured in the photographs. While Black students were, and remain, a minority population in the UW's campus community, these images are noteworthy for their lack of focus on the Black students whose concerns initiated the demonstrations. As we contemplate the University of Wisconsin's problematic legacy of responding to the concerns of minority students, we will do well to compare these images to the way agency and solidarity are depicted and assigned in the images that come out of #theRealUW demonstrations.