UNC Charlotte students have a long history of speaking up and getting involved. Even in our earliest years as a new university student activists on this campus were vocal and active in their support for civil rights and the fight to end injustice. From anti-Vietnam war protests and the fight for a Black Student Union in the 1960s to the anti-police violence and Black Lives Matter movements of today, our students have stood up for what they believe in and brought about changes that we all benefit from.
In this exhibit, you will see evidence we have of that important work. You will see how student leaders demanded change from the administration, and you will see how they had big victories and stinging defeats. You see how our student journalists worked to raise awareness of LGBTQ and women's rights through the written word. You will see images of protests, vigils and marches. You will see artwork and paperwork. What you will not find are the original records of the student activists themselves, which do not currently exist in our archives.
We do have many records that tell the University's history, and tell it well. However, those stories are largely told from the University's perspective and not from the perspectives of the students. Because of this, the University Archives hopes to encourage our students to better keep their own records so that the stories of their unique experiences will not be lost.
In the past, we could depend on paper records to find their way to the archives, but the digital files that today's activists create are much more fragile. To help ensure that these digital records are preserved we are working to share personal digital archiving tips and strategies with the University community. By sharing this knowledge, we can ensure that the work our campus activists and community organizers do online and in person will be saved and accessible for years and years to come.
Our students continue to make change a reality. The work that our student activists and organizers are doing is important and valued. The University Archives hopes to empower our UNC Charlotte community to document these ongoing efforts and preserve them for the future. Our students' perspectives matter and our shared campus history is not complete without these important voices.
This collection was created by students under the direction of Dr. Thomas J. Howarth as part of their Critical Citizenship and Community Service LBST 2301 classes in the 2019-2020 academic year. The focus of the class was to capture first-hand accounts to document social justice organizing efforts on UNC Charlotte's campus during the previous four to five years. Three initiatives are represented in the collection: the creation of Peace Haven, a meditation space that resulted from combined efforts of the Muslim Student Association in conjunction with the Interfaith Niners; on-campus protests organized by the Black Student Union with other student groups in response to the police-involved shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in 2016; and community action organized by student group Customer 49 to protest actions and policies of UNC Charlotte and the administrators of the UNC System.