Black Action Movement
The Black Action Movement was a series of protests by African American students against the policies and actions of the University of Michigan. The protests themselves took place on three occasions between 1970 and 1987 (BAM I, BAM II, BAM III). Many student organizations participated in the movement, which has been called one of the most challenging for administrators in the school's history. Alan Glenn of the Ann Arbor Chronicle said of the 1970 protests that "the BAM strike became one of the few protests of that era in which the students could make a valid claim of victory."
The 1970 Black Action Movement protests had their genesis in late 1969, when black student organizations began to chafe at the slow progress of integration. Following their decision to become more proactive, they entered into talks with university administrators but took the opportunity of an invitation to dine and discuss with the university president in February 1970 to instead stage a demonstrate on his lawn and demand that by the beginning of the 1973-1974 school year the balance of African American students and administrators proportionately reflect the 10% balance in the state at the time. Other requests were for better support for minority students, including a recruiter for Chicano students and a Black Student Center, and the establishment of a Black studies program.
The campaign closed the University of Michigan for 18 days. The settlement reached on 1 April 1970 involved the University accepting the 10% figure as a goal. In a speech later that month, U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew criticized university president Robben Fleming for his "surrender" to the students, calling the university's settlement a "callow retreat from reality."
The 1975 Black Action Movement protests were brought about for a few reasons. One of these was the lack of progress by the University in implementing the demands of the first movement. Another reason was the expulsion of a black nursing student. The final reason was the University's rejection of a Regent-approved candidate for deanship in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. While almost 300 students occupied the central administration building for three days in February 1975, the protests were considered milder than those of 1970.
The 1987 Black Action Movement arose after several incidents, including racist jokes that were broadcast during a show at the student-run radio station WJJX; the response of the university and Ann Arbor police departments to a fight on campus; the university housing's efforts to address racist flyers dispersed on campus; and concerns of the African American faculty over the "racial climate on campus".
In 1970, the University had announced the goal of having 10 percent Black students. Black enrollment fluctuated between 4.9 and 7.7 percent before 1987, when percentage of Black students was 5.4. The University's Vice President for Student Services stated that too few high-school graduates from large cities were academically qualified for admission.
- Black Student Movement (University of North Carolina)
- "Suggested Research Topics - The Black Action Movement: An Assessment of its Goals, and Effects on University Policies and Procedures". Bentley Historical Library. 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- Glenn, Alan (30 March 2010). ""Open It Up or Shut It Down": The 1970 Black Action Movement strike at Michigan". Ann Arbor Chronicle. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- Gurin, Patricia; Lehman, Jeffrey; Lewis, Earl (2004). Defending Diversity: Affirmative Action at the University of Michigan. University of Michigan Press. p. 53. ISBN 0472113070.
- Bryant, Bunyan (2007). Thunder at Michigan and in the Heartland: Working for Student Empowerment and Action. Morgan James Publishing. p. 8. ISBN 1600371450.
- "Agnew Accuses University of Surrendering To Blacks". St. Petersburg Times. 14 April 1970. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- Wei, William (1994). The Asian American Movement. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-1-56639-183-2.
- "Administrators say there is no black and white answer to campus racism". Ludington Daily News. 9 April 1988. Retrieved 19 December 2012.