March 15, 1970.
On this day, the Downtown Campus of IUPUI commenced a week-long Black Celebration featuring a variety of lectures, seminars, plays, films, and musical performances.
In announcing the event, Dr. Joseph T. Taylor, dean of the Downtown Campus (the collective name for several buildings on Delaware, East Michigan, Meridian, and Pennsylvania Streets that housed departments and schools of IUPUI before construction of Cavanaugh and Lecture Halls was completed) noted that "with the expert help of Indianapolis poet Mari Evans, our writer-in-residence, the students [of the Black Student Union, or BSU] have organized an impressive program." Several guest lecturers spoke during the week. Included in the schedule was a workshop targeting faculty members introducing them to "Theory and Technique of Supplementing Class Work with Black Information and Materials."
In the 1970s the BSU was the most significant student organization on campus. The group conferred frequently with campus leadership to address student and community issues. It challenged hidebound practices and offered constructive criticisms to chancellors and deans, who (usually) welcomed their input. Through the years, the BSU brought many prominent speakers to IUPUI to enliven campus debate. The Black Celebration was but one manifestation of the organization's activity and impact.
A hint to students: IUPUI Special Collections and Archives has significant records pertaining to the Black Student Union at IUPUI. Looking for a great topic for a term paper? Look no further! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.