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Special Collections - Black Experience

Black Student Union

"The Black Student Union is a group where people get together and learn about the ethnic heritage of African, African American and Caribbean culture and to expose the many contributions of the black men and women of the Diaspora. It is a great way for Black students to meet other students like them and form long lasting friendships." - BSU website

For more information about the Black Student Union, explore the article "A Legacy of Leadership." You can also view oral histories that contain information about the BSU virtually in GettDigital or in-person in the Special Collections Reading Room.

Browse books Presented by The Black Student Union of Gettysburg College in honor of Michael Lee Class of 1973.

College Publications

Black Awareness

Black Awareness was a student publication edited and authored by Leon “Buddy" Glover, Class of 1971 [link to oral history], in 1968 and 1969. With the publication, Glover sought to inform the Gettysburg College community of the experiences of Black people on and off campus. Black Awareness includes articles, poetry, drawings, and other visual elements. 

There are two issues of Black Awareness. Both can be found in Special Collections and College Archives. Ask an Archivist for more information or make an appointment to view this publication in the Reading Room.


Black Awareness, issue 2

Exhibit Materials

Browse the digital repository: What We Did Here: Activism at Gettysburg College

Manuscript Collections

  • Deborah H. Barnes Papers. MS-112 
    • The collection contains papers accumulated by Deborah Barnes while a graduate student at Howard University and a professor at Gettysburg College. The bulk consists of course materials including syllabi, handouts, course readings, and other resources. Papers written by Dr. Barnes as a graduate student are included, though few pertain to her primary research interest, African American literature. Also included are Dr. Barnes's dissertation proposal from Howard and publications and presentations she authored while at Gettysburg College, as well as a number of student-authored papers from Howard and from courses taught by Dr. Barnes at Gettysburg College. The collection contains a limited collection of Gettysburg College documents (primarily those produced for college faculty), as well as a small number of documents from the African American Studies and English Departments. The collection's strength rests in the substantial number of course materials. The Barnes papers will be most helpful to researchers interested in African American Studies and/or American literature curricula, and those interested in secondary source publications about African American literature. The collection does not contain personal writing or substantial information about Dr. Barnes' personal life and experiences at Howard University and Gettysburg College.

Oral Histories

Black Lives at Gettysburg College is an oral history project, begun by Special Collections and College Archives in 2015, in which participants narrate and reflect upon their Gettysburg experience, as well as their lives before and after. It currently encompasses over 30 interviews with graduates from 1961 to 2011, as well as professors and administrators. The project is ongoing, with a standing invitation to all Black American alums who would like to participate. The transcripts are available on GettDigital, and in hard copy in the Special Collections Reading Room.