|Phil Layne, John Schuh and Calvin Trillin reßect on the lessons of Black Thursday. - 596k mp3|
|Gladys Coleman, Geoff McCreary, Juanita Moore, Henry Brown, Sandra McCreary, Robert Hayes, Virginia Crane, Ron Del Bene, and Leonard White reßect on the impact that Black Thursday had on their personal lives, the university and the city of Oshkosh. - 1.8MB mp3|
In the ten months that followed Black Thursday, WSU-O committed itself to making a series of improvements for black students on campus. It recognized a new black student organization, the Afro-American Society, and converted the campus Intercultural Center into a new Afro-American Center. Under the direction of an energetic, new black assistant dean of students, Curtis Holt, the Afro-American Society and Center began sponsoring a speakers series, music festival, and a black theater workshop. Faculty members such as Virginia Crane began offering classes on black history and literature.
Nearly everyone understood, however, that these small victories had come at a cost. Indeed, Black Thursday and its aftershocks dealt a serious blow to the WSU-O’s morale and had a deleterious effect on Oshkosh’s reputation in other areas of the state. Coupled with an economic slowdown and cuts to the state university system, they sapped the momentum and the spirit of confidence that had propelled the campus earlier in the decade.
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Since 1969, black students at WSU-O and its successor, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, have attempted to preserve the memory and meaning of Black Thursday on campus.
Photo by The Quiver.
Over a dozen members of the Oshkosh 94 re-enrolled at WSU-O and, much to their credit, returned to the Oshkosh campus determined to succeed. Like other members of the Oshkosh 94 who eventually pursued higher education elsewhere, they later enjoyed successful careers in education, business, law and the performing arts. As these individuals realized, however, the personal stories of many other members of the Oshkosh 94 did not end so well. Indeed, the dream of obtaining a college education abruptly ended for many on November 21, 1968. For these former students, certainly, the legacy of Black Thursday is mixed with pain and misgiving.