An historical display of African American students’ exercise of their free speech rights on campus was the topic of a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.
Host Gina Logue’s interview with Sarah Calise, archivist for political and regional collections, and Donna Baker, university archivist, both with the Albert Gore Research Center, first aired March 30 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org.
You can listen to their conversation via the Soundcloud link above.
Calise and Black created “I Am True Black: A History of Black Student Life and Activism,” which is on display on the first floor of the James E. Walker Library during regular library hours through Thursday, May 6.
Using blue-and-black text panels and encased artifacts, the display presents and illustrates a timeline of events and continuing efforts to make MTSU a more welcoming and diverse educational institution.
From the demonstrations of the turbulent 1960s through the most recent attempt to change the name of Forrest Hall, black students have expressed their views and moved to instigate cultural changes.
“In one of our cases, there is a crushed tear gas canister that was thrown by Murfreesboro police toward community members, including students, in Black Lives Matter protests,” Calise said.
The incident occurred last May 31 near the university’s Main Street entrance as protesters made their way toward campus as part of nationwide unrest following the graphic videotaped death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd during his arrest.
Baker said they welcome more donations or loans of other memorabilia from the campus community and the public.
“Some of what we do is so that we can encourage our alums,” Baker said. “What we do have is extraordinarily significant, and it’s poignant, and we can do a lot of interpretation with that.”
To view panels included in the exhibit and a list of primary and secondary sources, go to mtsu.edu/gorecenter.
To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.
For more information about the radio program, contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.