Black Action Movements III - 1987

Seventeen years after BAM I, students were once again protesting the slow progress of the university in meeting their demands. The Black Action Movement III (BAM III) protests centered around four issues:

  • Black faculty concerns about the racial climate on campus
  • A WJJC radio disc jockey’s racist remarks
  • University Housing's efforts to address harassment of Black students in residence halls
  • University and Ann Arbor Police Department's handling of a fight at South Quad

Owens, Keith. “U-M sophomore Michael Mason chants slogans as protesters go by.” March 19, 1987. Ann Arbor News Vol 152, No 78.

In the image above, University of Michigan sophomore Michael Mason is pictured leading slogan chants, as student protestors lined the streets with poster signs. The posters that students carried shared messages that decried racism at the University of Michigan. 


Student Protestor Carries Sign.” March 18, 1987. While this photo never appeared in the Ann Arbor News, it was taken by an Ann Arbor News photographer of the BAM III protest in 1987.

During BAM III, there were two groups making demands on the University administration, the United Coalition Against Racism (UCAR), and BAM III. BAM III’s demands included the following: 

  1. We Demand the establishment and completely autonomous yearly budget of $35,000 for the Black Student Union
  2. We Demand the immediate endowment of $150,000.00 for the Monroe Trotter House to insure that the integrity of African American Culture will be preserved in spite of the vile climate of racism that persist at the University of Michigan 
  3. We Demand that the university immediately grant tenure to all presently hired Black faculty, and develop an accelerated tenure program for all newly hired Black faculty. Furthermore, We Demand an increase of Black faculty members. Such that every department of the university has Black professors
  4. We Demand that the University Board of Regents and Administration adopt a plan which appoints Blacks as department chairs or heads of 30% of all academic departments of the university's schools and colleges. This demand applies to all undergraduate, graduate and professional schools
  5. We Demand the immediate addition of a racial harassment clause in the university’s rules and regulations to punish institutionally those who perpetuate, motivate and participate in any type of racist activity
  6. Full participation of the Black Student Union Executive Board in the formulation and implementation of any reform, program, or policy that implicitly or explicitly effects the black community of the university or our community at large
  7. We Demand that President Shapiro’s 1 million dollar initiative to improve the recruitment and retention of Black students be extended to a 5 million 5 year initiative. At the end of the 5 year period the initiative will be evaluated and possibly be extended indefinitely
  8. We Demand the development of a permanent Black music program and a Black Affairs program at all university owned student run stations. These programs shall be produced, programmed and operated by Black students
  9. We Demand that all university publications cease degrading and insulting the integrity of Black people by the use of the lower case “b” when referring to the Black Race
  10. We Demand the uncompromising ratification of UCAR’s Anti-Racism proposals
  11. We Demand total amnesty for all reprisals for students during B.A.M. III 

In 1987, the University of Michigan administrators, all of whom had been hired after the original BAM I protests, found the protest to be a nuisance and largely ignored it. However the protest gained momentum with national news coverage and the administration was forced to respond to the demands of the protesters. But by March 19th, President Shapiro had met only one demand from UCAR: an honorary degree for Nelson Mandela. The BAM III’s demands went unaddressed. 

Leaders of the Black Action Movement III were impatient and angry with President Shapiro's response to their demands. Finding it difficult to get the university administration attention, BAM III protesters interrupted a meeting between the University of Michigan president and regents. 


Marks, Tom. “University of Michigan President Harold Shapiro and other Administrators listen to BAM.” March 21, 1987. Ann Arbor News, Volume 152, p. 1.

Pictured above, protester Chuck Wynder confronts President Shapiro and U-M Regent Paul Brown, who appears aggrieved, during the meeting. Following the confrontation, civil rights activist and presidential candidate Jesse Jackson negotiated six concessions between the university administration, BAM III, and UCAR:

  1. Establishment of a Vice Provost for Minority Affairs
  2. $35,500.00 for the Black Student Union
  3. Funds for minority faculty development 
  4. Plans and eventual targets for minority enrollment and faculty and staff hiring
  5. Development of a racial harassment policy
  6. Creation of an advisory committee on minority affairs to advise the university president

President Shapiro resigned the next month to become president of Princeton University.

Black Action Movement II - 1975

Black Action Movement in the 21st Century - 2013