Archives and Special Collections, First Floor Criss Library – Charting Our Path: Celebrating 50 Years of Black Studies (1971-2021) is now open to the public on the first floor of Criss Library. The exhibit shares the history of one of the oldest Black Studies departments in the nation, highlighting debates over curriculum, attempts to downgrade the department to a program, and the mutual engagement between campus and community. The exhibit is composed of archival materials such as newspaper clippings, department documents, photos, and ephemera, chronicling events from the 1969 Omaha 54 campus sit-in to the celebration of those student activists 50 years later. The history of the Department of Black Studies had been characterized by constant struggle for survival, but also by the enduring engagement and support of the Omaha Black community. Learn about the civil rights origins of the department, battles for legitimacy in the eyes of the university, the role of the Omaha chapter of NAACP in the department’s survival, and much more.
Items on display from Archives and Special Collections have been fully digitized and are available to the public. Learn more about the materials in this exhibit by exploring the Department of Black Studies Records, the Student Unrest Collection, the UNO Poster Collection, and the "UNO 54" BLAC (Black Liberators for Action on Campus) Sit-In Related Documents, 1969-1970 from the Kirk Naylor Papers. You can access these and other collections through the department’s digital repository. Other items on display have been shared by the Black Studies department.
The exhibit will be on display in Archives and Special Collections on the first floor of Criss Library from September 15, 2021 - August 31, 2022. The exhibit is open to the public during Criss Library’s regular hours of operation.
The exhibit was curated by Claire Du Laney, Outreach Archivist. Research for this exhibit was conducted in part by UNO student Paul Jensen with funding provided by the Office of Research and Creative Activity Work Study Student Researcher and Research Development Program and a matching award from the Eugene S. and Sunny M. Thomas Endowed Fund for Innovation.
The exhibit is part of the outreach and programming for the Department of Black Studies anniversary, funded by the UNO Strategic Investment Grant, awarded to the UNO Libraries and the Department of Black Studies for the project “Charting our Path” Celebrating 50 Years of Black Studies, 1971-2021.” Additional funding is provided by UNO Libraries and the Department of Black Studies. For more information about the department and future events, please see the Black Studies department website.
About Charting Our Path
Charting Our Path: Celebrating 50 Years of Black Studies is a cooperative project of the Department of Black Studies and UNO Libraries. The project will honor the 50th anniversary of the Department of Black Studies in 2021-2022 through campus and community speakers, exhibits, and events as well as supporting expanding research, creative activity, and open access instructional resources. Support is provided by UNO’s Strategic Investment in Social Justice, Inequality, Race, and Class initiative. Charting Our Path is one of the ‘Telling Our Story’ proposals and was funded for 2021-2023. The project leads are Dr. Cynthia Robinson, Amy C. Schindler, and Claire Du Laney.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha Libraries
UNO Libraries fulfill the UNO mission through dynamic services, highly qualified and adaptive personnel, unique and extensive collections, and accessible learning spaces and environments. With its two locations, Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library on UNO’s Dodge Campus and in KANEKO-UNO Library located in Omaha’s Old Market, UNO Libraries provides UNO students, faculty and staff, and the Omaha community with the resources and materials needed to excel academically and professionally.
About the Department of Black Studies
The Department of Black Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha is proud to celebrate its 50th anniversary in the 2021-22 academic year. Since 1971, Black Studies' faculty and staff have focused our teaching, research, and service on the analysis, critique, and discussion of African continental and diasporic experiences, and the systems of oppression and resistance that characterize those experiences. Through our strategic goals of academic excellence, student centeredness, and community engagement, we continue the long, strong, focused determination of the discipline of Black Studies to counter the narrative of white supremacy and African inferiority. Make a gift to support the Department of Black Studies.
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Unless otherwise clearly stated, any views or opinions expressed as part of events, exhibitors, or presenters in the UNO Libraries (Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library and the KANEKO-UNO Library) should not be viewed as endorsements by the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and do not reflect the official position of UNO or the University of Nebraska system.