University of Wisconsin Oshkosh history professor Stephen Kercher, Ph.D was a guest speaker at the Morgan house on Tuesday, February 23. Dr. Kercher spoke about the events leading up to the black student protests at the then Wisconsin State University at Oshkosh on November 21, 1968, or Black Thursday. The presentation included pictures, audio, and video clips of the racial tension that boiled over into a confrontation in Dempsey Hall, which, in the end, resulted in the expulsion of 90 black students. Dr. Kercher’s work on the Black Thursday history is an example of racial politics and the Civil Rights Movement in our area.
Dr. Kercher was a co-curator of an exhibit featured at UWO in November 2008, the 40th anniversary of the demonstration. The oral history project included about 100 interviews from former students, members of the community, university faculty and staff, and police officers. If you would like to learn more about the local race issues in the 1960s, the “Oshkosh 94”, and the impact of their actions, you can view the online history exhibit: www.blackthursday.uwosh.edu
Were you on campus or in Oshkosh during these events on November 21, 1968? What did you take away from the demonstrations? Did it change your outlook on the politics and policies at the time?