History, Department of


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A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The History Department at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: History, Under the Supervision of Professor Patrick Jones. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2008

Copyright (c) 2008 Jared E. Leighton


This thesis examines the Morrill Hall Takeover of January, 1969, and the creation of the Afro-American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Further, it follows the process of sustaining a black studies department including acquiring qualified professors, maintaining student interest, negotiating the relationship to the black community and overcoming funding shortages, as well as other bureaucratic difficulties. The events at the University of Minnesota are placed in the larger context of the long-term development of black studies, the rise of the Black Power Movement and Minnesota’s tradition of liberalism. This work draws on reports from the University of Minnesota Archives, papers held at the Minnesota Historical Society, interviews, newspaper coverage of the takeover and subsequent department development, and secondary texts on black studies and black power.