Spotlight on RMC’s Black Student Association, article by Roman Jones

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Above from left: Row 1: Sylvia Hayes, Florestine Taylor - Secretary & Treasurer, Liz Simmons - Public Relations, Debie Johnson. Row 2: Richard Jackson, Herbert Hatchett, Eugene Jones, Flip Cousins, Ronald Ray - Business Manager, Pam Kelow, Mike Gibson. Row 3: Ben Francis, Jackie Young - President, Arthur Buford, Quilla Turner - Vice President, Tare Tesfaye, Robert Moncrief, Percy Anderson, Ike Williams. Unpictured: Steve Bell, Gary Black, Charles Allen, John Nkanta, Eugene Akpan, Vernon Aaron, Kevin Thomas, Bill Batchelor, and Corrine Ward. Photo courtesy of RMC library archives.

Above from left: Row 1: Sylvia Hayes, Florestine Taylor – Secretary & Treasurer, Liz Simmons – Public Relations, Debie Johnson. Row 2: Richard Jackson, Herbert Hatchett, Eugene Jones, Flip Cousins, Ronald Ray – Business Manager, Pam Kelow, Mike Gibson. Row 3: Ben Francis, Jackie Young – President, Arthur Buford, Quilla Turner – Vice President, Tare Tesfaye, Robert Moncrief, Percy Anderson, Ike Williams. Unpictured: Steve Bell, Gary Black, Charles Allen, John Nkanta, Eugene Akpan, Vernon Aaron, Kevin Thomas, Bill Batchelor, and Corrine Ward. Photo courtesy of RMC library archives.

 

In honor of Black History Month, The Summit is spotlighting Rocky Mountain College’s Black Student Association, a student-run organization formed in 1971.

According to library archives, the BSA was founded in order to voice a “basic concern for Black consciousness” and “expose the campus to some aspects of Black life, particularly the awareness of Black culture.”

It can be inferred the BSA’s formation was a response to the social turmoil of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

In the midst of the Civil Rights Movement, anti-Vietnam War sentiment, and the counterculture revolution, Rocky was relatively progressive and had a small, but vocal population of black student leaders.

The BSA was known for sponsoring events on RMC’s campus. Members of the BSA also served on the RMC President’s Commission and the RMC Task Force of the 1970s.

The organization was assisted by RMC professor Dale Arnink, who served as faculty adviser to the BSA. Arnink also served as an adviser for RMC’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People or NAACP.

Liz Simmons, PR director for the BSA in 1971, wrote, “Through our works of reason and imagination we will challenge any threat bestowed upon the freedom and dignity of the Black men and women.”

No record of the BSA was available after 1974. While short-lived, the group was influential and takes its place in the storied and multilayered history of Rocky.

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