Black Action Movements I -1970
In 1968, University of Michigan students protested the campus climate after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. The Black Action Movement protests began in the fall of 1969. Black student groups, including the Black Student Union, Black Law Student Alliance, Black Student Psychological Association, and the Black Educational Caucus, started talks with the University of Michigan administration about campus climate.
In February 1970, the student protesters of BAM I made twelve demands, pictured above, of the administrators of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor campus. Some of the demands included:
- Establishment of University commitment to 10% Black enrollment by 1973-1974
- Establishment of University commitment to hire Black faculty proportional to Black enrollment
- Establishment of supportive services for minorities
- Establishment of Black Student Center
- Establishment of recruiter for Chicano students
- Establishment of Black Studies Program
The students went on strike for 18 days. In an article in the Ann Arbor Chronicle on March 30, 2010 titled “Open It Up or Shut It Down,” Alan Glenn observed that the strike led to a 75% decrease in class attendance.
Gathering on the steps of Angell Hall after a meeting, in the picture above, students raised their fists in solidarity and in protest after voting to go on strike until their demands were met.
In addition to picketing classroom buildings, students set up picket lines at dormitories and other university buildings.
Lining around the block, cars in the image above wait while students block the street. As the protests continued they started having an effect on the operations of the University. Alan Glenn reported on how after President Fleming and the Regents refused to respond to the demands, about 25 protesters went to the Undergraduate Library and took hundreds of books off the shelves, forcing the building to close. The next morning BAM protesters met at the University administration building to demand action. President Fleming and the Regents once again refused, and a larger group of students went back to the library and disarranged thousands of books. Fleming responded by stationing Ann Arbor police officers at the University libraries. Over the next few weeks, more disruptions occurred including a blockade of the Michigan Union snack bar. Early in March, President Fleming announced an alternative proposal.
On April 1, 1970 the University responded to the students’ demands and the strike was settled.
Pictured above is a section of the minutes from the March 1970 Regents meeting stating the University’s response to the original twelve demands of BAM I. Of the twelve demands, the University accepted the 10% demand, the continued support of the Afro-American Studies Program, and the creation of a Black Culture Center.
Black Action Movement II - 1975