Black Student Association Oral Histories

Collected in 2018 and 2019, these Interviews were Conducted with Former Eastern Michigan University Students and Members of EMU's Black Student Association to Understand Events from February 1969 when Students Brought a Set of Demands to the University Administration.

  • Patricia Davidson

    Canadians Dr. Patricia Davidson and her sister Roberta were known as an organizational force behind the student demonstrations of 1969. Members of the Black Student Association and Campus Service Corps, the Davidson sisters were among a group of black student activists inside Pierce Hall during the takeover of 1969. Patricia went on to get her master’s degree in chemistry and an MD after attending Eastern Michigan. Dr. Davidson taught at Howard University and the University of Maryland and continues to have a substantial private practice in cardiology.
  • Dr. Mable Jones

    Dr. Jones is an alumna of Eastern Michigan University, graduating in 1972. Her time is characterized by heavy involvement in student activism that included being a member of Campus Service Corps, the Black Student Association and discussions with administration after the take over of Pierce Hall in February 1969. Dr. Mable Jones came to Eastern as an Upward Bound student. Jones became the chief executive officer of Upward Bound at Wayne State University, and, since retiring, continues to serve the greater Detroit area in the field of child development.
  • Floyd Walton

    Floyd Walton is an alumnus of Eastern Michigan University, graduating in 1973. Walton was a highly involved student activist serving as a member of the Campus Service Corps and the Black Student Association. Walton was also instrumental with the Black Demands and discussions with administration after the take over of Pierce Hall of February of 1969.
  • Robert Smith

    Robert Smith is an alumnus of Eastern Michigan University who graduated from the university in 1971. During his time at EMU, Smith was involved with the Black Student Association and Campus Service Corps. Smith was instrumental in the creation of Black Demands and the takeover of Pierce Hall in February 20th, 1969. Smith graduated from Eastern in 1971 with a double major in history and graphic arts. Smith went on to serve the communities of Detroit and Highland Park in roles at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Wayne State University, and the Highland Park School District.
  • Kurt Hill

    Kurt Hill is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University, active member of the Black Student Association, and Campus Service Corps, as well as present during the take over of Pierce Hall take over of February 20th, 1969.
  • Steve Spencer

    Steve Spencer graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 1975 with a degree in speech and education and was an active member of the Black Student Association during his time on campus. After attending Valparaiso Law School, Spencer worked for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for 38 years.
  • James Beasley

    James Beasley graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 1977 and was an active member of the Student Senate and other associations on campus. Not on campus for the 1969 takeover of Pierce Hall, Beasley was a member of the next generation of student activists on campus, witness to the implementation of many of the changes demanded by earlier activists.
  • John Sanford

    John Sanford is an alumnus in the Eastern Michigan University and was highly involved in student activism. Serving as a member of Campus Service Corps, Sanford was instrumental in discussions with administration after the take over of Pierce Hall in February 1969.
  • Marshall Jennings

    Marshall Jennings is an alumnus of Eastern Michigan University. Jennings was a highly involved student activist, serving as a member of Campus Service Corps. Jennings was an instrumental figure in discussions with administration on bettering conditions for African American students on campus, Jennings began his professional career at Eastern Michigan University working for admissions through recruiting and counseling. Jennings worked for two years as a counselor and recruiter for Eastern before going on to a long and successful career in higher education administration.
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