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Students (1969-1975)

African American Students Usher the Movement (1969-1975) 

African American students helped sustain AASP during its early years. Their experiences reflected in campus actions and events, organizations, and publications. The Afro-American Association (now Black Student Association) played a significant role shaping student life on their own terms.

[Afro-American Association]. Vanderbilt Commodore, 1969. Reproduction. Vanderbilt University Special Collections. 

Members and accomplishments of the Afro-American Association are noted. During its second year, it helped initiate the AASP, stage campus visits by Dick Gregory and Fanny Lou Hamer, and publish Rap from the Eleventh Floor(Carmichael Towers). Perry Wallace, the first African American basketball player in the Southeastern Conference, is pictured at the bottom right.

[Brenda Hopson Letter to Alexander Heard]

[Brenda Hopson Letter to Alexander Heard]. February 9, 1973. Vanderbilt University Archives. 

Brenda Hopson, student editor of RAP Magazine, expresses thanks to Chancellor Alexander Heard for supporting the publication.

Rap Magazine, volume 6, number 1, 1974

Rap Magazine, volume 6, number 1, 1974. Vanderbilt University Special Collections. 

Rap Magazine was a cultural, political, and literary journal involving members of the Afro-American Association. It was originally published in 1969 as Rap from the Eleventh Floor.  The title pertains to the Carmichael Towers floor housing many Black students. This 1974 issue includes poetry from Alice Walker, then a writer-in-residence at Jackson State University.

[Ebony Spectrum]. April 1973.

[Ebony Spectrum]. April 1973. Vanderbilt University Archives. 

Cultural programing sponsored by the Afro-American Association is detailed. Performances by Muddy Waters, screening of the Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) film The Dutchman, along with other performances, reflect the influence of the Black Arts Movement in the 1970s.

“Vanderbilt’s Black Students: They’re Busy---and Edgy.”

Kathleen Gallagher. “Vanderbilt’s Black Students: They’re Busy—and Edgy.” Nashville Tennessean, February 21, 1971. Vanderbilt University Archives. 

Profile of African American students and faculty. Larry Wallace, Afro-American Association member and AASP director Akbar Muhammed are featured. Both provide candid critiques of their experiences and conditions for African Americans on campus. Black student support for Professor Muhammed and the AASP is noted.

he Black Student at Vanderbilt

The Black Student at Vanderbilt. Office of Undergraduate Admissions, Vanderbilt University, 1971. Vanderbilt University Archives.

This pamphlet was written by African American students and published by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. It was used to recruit Black students to Vanderbilt. A section from this pamphlet called “Black Studies As Movement” was the inspiration for the title of this exhibit.

The Black Student at Vanderbilt

The Black Student at Vanderbilt. Office of Undergraduate Admissions, Vanderbilt University, 1973. Reproduction. Vanderbilt University Archives.

Black students marching on campus, likely in late November 1972, protesting the police killing of two students at Southern University on November 16, 1972. Early issues of The Black Student at Vanderbilt reflected campus activism that pushed for the formation of the AASP and shaped student experiences.