Pictures, memories and 50 years of empowerment


Oscar Ritchie Hall prepares for students and alumni to attend the gallery.

Madison Brattoli

As Black United Students (BUS) celebrates 50 years on Kent State’s campus, members reflect on the progress the organization has made for the African American community at KSU.

“What I think the exhibit will do in particular is sort of highlight some of those (key) moments through their history and what they did as students,” said Idris Kabir Syed, associate professor in the Department of Pan-African Studies.

This Saturday afternoon, the Uumbaji gallery in Oscar Richie hall will host BUS at 50: Photographs from the collection of E. Timothy Moore, Lafayette Tolliver, and others.

This gallery will showcase photographs that display the development of BUS over its 50 years.

BUS began in 1968 and helped in the creation of various groups on campus.

The organization helped create the Pan-African department and was influential in the institution of a lot of other programs on campus such as the Institute for African American Affairs Center for Pan African culture and, to a large degree, the Student Multicultural Center.

Photographs included in the gallery will range from the years 1968-2015 and will showcase substantial events that BUS has taken part in on campus.

The gallery will be curated by professors Lae’l Hughes-Watkins and Idris Kabir Syed.

“The exhibit will highlight some of these moments. Whether it is their involvement in issues around protesting the Black Panther party or the Oakland Police Department who came to recruit students in the early 1960s, or highlight some of the other things that students have done over the years on different protests and different cultural events.”

The photos in the gallery were produced by various photographers. Since the gallery focuses on 50 years of events, the photographers consist of multiple students from the particular time eras.

Photographs taken around the 60s were taken by a student named Lafayette Talbert.

Timothy Moore took a large majority of the pictures from the 70s and 80s. The rest of the pictures were taken by various on-campus students.

“(BUS) by no means was the first group of African American students and by no means is the last group,” said Syed. “But, they are probably the most important group of African American students on campus because they’ve been here the longest.”

Madison Brattoli is a diversity reporter. Contact her at [email protected].