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African-American History Month  

Resources regarding African Americans in Montana and at UM.
Last Updated: Feb 20, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Black Student Union


            The University of Montana Black Student Union serves as an organization that fosters student development through diversity, academics, and social services. The student union works to promote a healthy and welcoming space for open forums on race, ethnicity, cultural understanding, and diversity issues. The University of Montana Black Student Union allows students of all races to rejoice in African American culture, lifestyle, history, and activities.

             In 1967, four UM students of African descent, Thamani Akbar, Dee Daniels, Herb White and Mace Gray organized the first Black Student Union on the University of Montana campus. During the fall of 1967, these four students proposed to then-UM President Robert Pantzer that the University start a Black Studies program. Through the diligent efforts of these students and other Missoula residents, Pantzer hired Ulysses Doss in May of `68. The former Chicago community activist Doss, almost immediately, hung a sign on his door declaring himself "Director of Black Studies".

             The University of Montana Black Student Union, or UMBSU as the members lovingly call it, welcomes all members of the Missoula community to join us for events and meetings. We hold meetings on Mondays at 5:30, at 645 S 6th St E.


African-American History... In Montana!

Image from The Watani. Archives & Special Collections, Mansfield Library, the University of Montana.

There is a long history of African Americans in Montana, Missoula and the University of Montana.

This year we are highlighting the 25th Colored Infantry who traveled 1,900 miles from Missoula to St. Louis Missouri in 1896. This feat was accomplished on bicycles which were still being tested for endurance, and on roads which were often in terrible condition.

In 1974 students from the University of Montana recreated that ride. The African American students, who were part of the Black Studies program, rode- this time on paved roads. The nearly 2000 mile ride showed student dedication and desire to honor the bicycling pioneers of the 25th.

A great deal of the information in this guide comes from the Watani, a student created year book for the Black Studies program.

We hope that those who see the display and this library guide will learn more about the rich and important history of African Americans in Montana as well and the present, vibrant community supported by the Black Student Union.



February 11th from noon until 1:00 in room 101 of the law school.

Patricia Suleiman, current UM law student and the NBLSA is celebrating Black History Month with a panel discussion event. The panel consist of Monica Harris, former Vice President of business and legal affairs for VH1; Anthony Jackson, UMSL class of 2012; and Donna Molllica, former affirmative action officer at the college of New Rochelle.

 Investigating the Role of Race/Ethnicity in the Montana Juvenile Justice System
Lecturer: Dusten Hollist Professor of Sociology UM
Date: Tuesday, February 18
Time: 6:00
Location: Room 330 University Center

“Movies and the ‘Magic Negro’: African Americans in Hollywood Films”
Lecturer: Tobin Shearer, African American Studies
Date: Wednesday, February 19
Time: 7:00
Location: Room 331 University Center (3rd Floor)

From Missoula to St. Louis to Television:
 A Brief Discussion of the Bicycle Corps’ Documentary for PBS

Speaker:  Gus Chambers
Mansfield Library, East Faculty Office Area
Friday, February 21, 6:00

“NOT 3/5th HUMAN—Something Much Worse: the real meaning and impact of the 3/5th clause of the U.S. Constitution”
Lecturer: George Price
Date:Monday, February 24th
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: University Center 3rd Floor Room 326



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