Historical Background

"History is not the past. It is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history. If we pretend otherwise, we literally are criminals." - James Baldwin



In 1981, the Black Student Action Association (BSAA) co-sponsored panel discussions within 1st-year writing classes in order to disrupt the anti-Black racial myths held by Miami University students. Lawrence W. Young, then Director of Minority Student Affairs, states in a concluding report on these educational panels, “the discussions revealed to me the depth of misunderstanding and ignorance these students have to American History and the nature of American society today. It is disturbing to think that these students may leave Miami and still believe racial ‘Myths’ begun and proven false years ago.” The report also references the 1968 “Kerner Report” in addressing the campus polarity resulting from this misunderstanding and ignorance: “The polarity of this campus along racial lines reflects the polarity predicted in the Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders known as the Kerner Report, which states ‘America is moving toward a society made up of two separate nations: One white and one black[—separate and unequal].’” Unfortunately, parallels continue to persist at Miami University 38 years later...