Virtual Black History Month Exhibit, Presentation Offered


The Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives invites the public to visit a virtual Black History Month exhibit. It is also hosting a virtual presentation titled “Critical Information Literacy: Consciousness Raising and Social Justice in the Archives” from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Feb. 24.

The online exhibition is about the history of student protests at NMU in the 1960s. The Black Student Association (BSA), later the Black Student Union, was active in defending and advancing civil rights at NMU.

“Today's struggle for social and economic justice echoes the activism and demands made by the BSA 52 years ago,” said Professor and University Archivist Marcus Robyns.

NMU alumni and former archives student assistants Annika Peterson ('17 BA), Anne Krohn ('16 BS) and Kelley Kanon ('16 BFA) designed, researched and wrote the exhibit. It can be viewed here.

The exhibit includes an oral history interview with the late David Williams, a leader of the BSA who would go on to become the first African American vice chancellor at Vanderbilt University and the first African American athletic director in the Southeastern Conference. Listen to the interview here.

The presentation will discuss Critical Information Literacy as part of primary source literacy instruction in archives. It will also include an exercise using primary sources documenting the history of Black student protests at NMU in the late 1960s.

Critical Information Literacy is a theory of learning that endeavors to impact social change. Instructors can use the experiences and voices found in the papers and primary source records collected by archives and special collections for classroom consciousness-raising activities that also teach information literacy skills.

The presentation features two speakers: Robyns and Julie Porterfield, associate professor and instruction and outreach archivist at Penn State University. Documents from the 1969 BSA sit-in demonstration in the NMU Dean of Students office will be shared.   

The presentation is being held as part of NMU's Diversity Common Readers Program (DCRP). View the presentation online via Zoom at the following link:

For more information, contact Robyns at or 227-1046.

The Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives manages on-campus office records and houses historical manuscript collections pertaining to the central Upper Peninsula. Its department is utilized by the campus and local communities as well as internationally for administrative, scholarly and genealogical research.

The DCRP is a semester-long, campus-wide initiative that focuses on reading as a means of social dialogue and change. Held annually since 2013, this program comprises an interdisciplinary series of events inspired by a nonfiction book that advances discussions of diversity, inclusion and justice. This semester's featured book is Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.  

Prepared By

Jill Vermeulen
Student Writer

Categories: Around NMU