A Brief History of Protest at the University of Chicago: 1915-1992

Exhibit Location: The Joseph Regenstein Library, Fourth Floor
Exhibit Dates: May 26 – June 30, 2017

Students march to protest the Draft in 1969

“Students march from Hyde Park into Woodlawn during a draft moratorium rally in Chicago, part of a nationwide day of protest against the Vietnam War.” 10.15.1969.
University of Chicago Photographic Archive, [apf7-03566], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

“Dear Sir: Your readers will be very interested to know the outcome of the conference between the teachers of the Wendell Phillips High School and the citizens’ committee appointed at a meeting of the Negro Fellowship League, January 17th. It will be remembered that on that day both Miss Fannie Smith, dean of girls at the Wendell Phillips School, and Mr. Perrine, assistant principal, addressed the League in explanation and defense of the segregation of White and Colored children in the social room.” So wrote Ida B. Wells, journalist and founding member of the NAACP, in a letter to the editors at the Broad Axe, published by the newspaper on February 27, 1915. The affair became public after Marion Talbot, Dean of Women at the University of Chicago, publicly protested the decision to separate white and black students of Wendell Phillips at social events.

Activists protesting on 10th anniversary of Chernobyl disaster.

“Ronald Schupp (left, in mask), a Chicago civil rights leader and minister, and Bill Steyert (right) participate in a vigil commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The event, sponsored by Greenpeace and Rockefeller Chapel, featured two speakers who survived the disaster. It was held at the Henry Moore sculpture ‘Nuclear Energy’ on the University of Chicago campus.” 04.26.1996.
University of Chicago Photographic Archive, [apf7-06042-002], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

There exists a long and varied history of social activism among the students, faculty, and staff at the University of Chicago. This exhibit displays documentation of protests that have occurred at the University of Chicago. The material was drawn primarily from the digitized archives of the University, especially the University of Chicago Photographic Archive and the University of Chicago Campus Publications. The scope of the materials, ranging from 1915 to 1992, match the coverage in these two collections.

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