Black student history at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is at the center of the first Special Collections exhibition of 2023. On view in the Andrew Roth Grand Reading Room on the fourth floor of the UTC Library through July 28, 2023, the exhibit features images and narrative text highlighting this important aspect of university history.
From the establishment of Zion College in 1947 to the robust student-led programming of the Black Student Association in the 1970s, “Unity, Power, and Freedom!” celebrates some of the people and events that made the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga a more inclusive institution. Learn about students like Horace Traylor, one of the first to enroll in classes at the University of Chattanooga after the desegregation of the graduate school in 1963, and Phyllis White, the first Black student honored as Homecoming Queen in 1970.
In addition to individuals, the exhibit covers the groups that helped involve Black students in campus life, like the Black Student Association and Greek organizations including Alpha Kappa Alpha and Alpha Phi Alpha, among others. The efforts of these students and their organizations made a lasting impact. The Black Student Association of the 1970s was revitalized as the present-day Black Student Alliance with a name change in 2003 and the call for a curriculum in Black Studies that began in 1969 was formalized by the Faculty Senate in 1988 with an Interdisciplinary Minor in Black Studies. This minor was retitled Africana Studies in 1994 and the Africana Studies program is still very active today.
The images and information for this exhibition were drawn from a wide range of materials, including, University Echo student newspapers, Moccasin yearbooks, Black Student Alliance records, Chattanooga City College records and histories, and the LeRoy A. Martin papers. Visit the Special Collections website to learn more about making an appointment to use these collections for research of your own. All images featured here courtesy of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Special Collections.