Browse Exhibits (32 total)

Cross Burnings and The Black Student Union


The First Black Student at West Chester State Normal School

An exhibit based on the life of Walter Smith, who attended West Chester State School in the early 1900s. This project is a dedication to the students who broke the ground for future attendees of the college, whose pathfinding made possible a brighter future for the campus and its residents.

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Patricia Grasty: From Student to Teacher

This exhibit explores the life and legacy of Patricia Grasty-Gaines, an exceptional student at W.C.S.T.C. who returned to the school to teach from 1970 to her death in 1999. Dr. Grasty-Gaines pushed the Education department and the campus as a whole more towards multiculturalism and succeeded against the odds.

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OURS: Black Folks Discourse on Knowledge, Love, and Healing

The 1st annual OURS: Black Folks Discourse on Knowledge, Love, and Healing conference will serve as an event that is geared towards providing academic and emotional support to Black Women and Femmes on West Chester University’s campus. The conference is committed to hosting presentations and embodied experiences across disciplines that focus specifically on the lived realities of Black people. This conference is also intended to cultivate space for Black people to heal individually and collectively as well as love on ourselves and others. Although the conference is Black Woman and Femme centered, it is a collaborative space that welcomes all Black people to present and all of our advocates* to be in attendance! The goal of the conference is to create change and invoke critical thought by addressing how a Black feminist framework can be a source of liberation in how we tackle various issues, while providing validation for the feelings and thoughts of Black people.

*We use the word advocate instead of ally intentionally because the goal is to actively show support versus merely saying that one aligns with something.

50 Years of Urban Growth and Engagement at West Chester University

For the past fifty-one years, West Chester University has come a vast, powerful way from the year of 1969 in the manner it defined the word in "urban" amongst its curriculum and the students there.

The university, then called West Chester State College, lacked not only diversity but engagement in order to benefit the lives of students of color who attended with intent to gain both an equitable and equal education.

While it lacked in many ways, there has been a strong amount of steady growth from organizations, professors, and even new academic courses/programs that have explored a new dynamic of urban studies. To digress, within each decade since 1969 to 2019, the university has established several urban-centered programs, courses, and electives to help engage the community in a more "Black" centered way. 

Through the years, the university has deemed them to resourceful not only for the prior years of negligence of the black community but used as a way to help future educators become more cultivated in order to serve any community they entered as teachers. This slow, yet steady growth established many buildups and connections between each decade that passed to ensure a better experience for every student of color. 

One program that specifically caters to the needs of urban students, urban youth, and community engagement that social change is the Youth Empowerment and Urban Studies (Y.E.S) program at now named West Chester University. This minor, and now the official program was started in 2013 and has grown ever since. This minor at the university benefits and is welcome to all students to be infused into their academic experience. There are several courses, fieldwork opportunities, and experiences that this program gives its students to become more focused and centered around a social change in urban settings. 

The exhibit will examine several implementations of programming, courses, electives, activities, and articles that showcase the very growth of the term "urban" at West Chester University. Beginning in 1969, the exhibit addresses each decade and exemplifies the urban history and culture through 2019. 

Godfrey "Huk" Bethea

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An exhibition for the man Godfrey "Huk" Bethea, who founded the Black Student Union at West Chester University and was unjustly expelled in his final year after an alleged altercation with a campus officer.

1975: Women's Gymnastics Team Racial Discrimination & Aftermath

The full story of the first exhibit. Here, from the months of mid-February to early March, the controversy of two young black women who were discriminated by their gymnastics coach. The exhibit tells the timeline of the newspaper articles published by The Quad and what has been told to the public. 

Exhibit by Christopher Malampy

Martin Watkins' Fight for Academic Freedom

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Martin Watkins was a history professor and wrestling team coach at West Chester State College. He became well-known in the community for his outspoken, critical and sometimes tongue-in-cheek comments about important issues relevant to campus. Watkins was a passionate advocate for civil rights, diversity and progressive politics. He submitted frequent articles, letters-to-the-editor and ads to broadcast his views to the community. Even after getting fired twice, once in 1971 and again in 1975, Watkins continued to stay involved with the campus, sending in his comments to the student newspaper.

His first termination by the university occurred when he openly supported Dr. Michael Kay after Kay was wrongfully fired by the university. The situation caused widespread protest on campus which led to a court hearing that included Watkins and the other professors who were fired due to their support of Kay.

15 Years of Celebration: Exploring Black History Week Through the Quad Angles

This exhibit explores documented recognition of the observance of Negro/Black History Week, on West Chester's campus from 1966 to 1981 in issues of the Quad Angles. The first years selected coincide with a few years after the founding of the college chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. and the chapter's growth and involvement on the campus.

It was not until 1969, did Negro History Week have substantial publicicty which possibly had much to do with both the increase of national observance of the holiday on college campuses and the number black students. The exhibit will primarily include articles, profies, photography and students submissions in the Quad Angles. 

In the 70's Negro History Week was renamed Black History Week and every year had a theme and events that coincided with the theme. The events took place nearly every second week in February and included, guest speakers, choir performances, fundraisers and art exhbits. The event was primarily sponsored by the Black Student Union, but through the years other organizations began to participate and contribute. 

From 1971 to 1981 Quad Angles coverage of Black History Week included, a preview of events in Janaury, interviews with Guest Speakers, reviews of plays andd performances in February and lastly a review of the events published in March. Included in the exhibit are the years when the QUad Angles gave little to no exposure to Black History Week. 

Every year that Black History Week was celebrated at West Chester offered new insight into the lives of black student's on campus. Their thoughts on racial struggles with administration, their academic, athletic and artistic accomplishments are captured in the articles in the Quad, especially during Black History Week. These moments are explored in the following exhibit. 

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NAACP's 1966 Black Power Lecture Series

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This exhibit explores a lecture series at West Chester in 1966 hosted by the NAACP. The event focused on the concept of Black Power and included West Chester students and organizations.

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