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Special Collections and Archives: The Gift of Activism: Which Side Are You On? : History of Activism at Georgia State University

The struggle for rights, autonomy, and certain freedoms has been waged throughout human existence, and the gift of activism has been handed down from one generation to the next.

History of protest at Georgia State Universities over the generations

Newspaper caption attached to print verso: "Signs speak the minds of West Georgia students. Carrollton, Ga., Jan. 22.--With placards that speak for themselves, college students demonstrate at the town square here Tuesday afternoon against the Legislature's election of Herman Talmadge and 'the relapse of Georgia after walking along the road to a progressive government.' -- Journal photo by Tracy O'Neal."  Some of the signs read "To have a dictator, or not to have one -- that is the question"; "Is Georgia a democracy or a monarchy?"; "Is this 'pretender' the same Herman Talmadge that was a guest of the JAP government in 1939?." Caption inscribed "1939?" AJCP388-056e, Atlanta Journal Constitution Photographic Archives. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library.

Paper Plate Protest

Photographic print; newspaper caption attached to verso of print: "Paper plate protest. An unidentified protester marches in front of the Urban Life Center at Georgia State University today to have her say during first lady Nancy Reagan's visit to the institution. Mrs. Reagan was in town for an anti-drug conference being held here." Caption stamped "Fri Apr 2 1982 J." Newspaper assignment sheet attached to verso of print identifies the photographer (Ben Baxter) and gives caption information: "Elderly black woman marches in front of Law School (formerly the Urban Life Center) at Georgia State University to protest Nancy Regans [i.e. "Reagan's] visit there. The plates the protester is holding read from top to bottom, "We need / schools / jobs / food / peace." AJCP179-13a Atlanta Journal-Constitution Photographic Archives. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library.

'We Protest!'

"'We protest,' Georgia State pickets say. Students parade with signs in front of Georgia State College in protest against dismissal of two political science professors. The dismissal occurred earlier this year in a disagreement over job application forms. Four other members of the political science department then resigned in protest. Some of the pickets said they are 'angry' because the school won't let some of the departing professors teach during summer school, circa 1960’s. (Story, Page 2.)" (Newspaper caption attached to verso of print). AJCP551-55z, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Photographic Archives. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library.

GSU Students Make Demands


A concerted effort in programming was implemented to combat a decline in the

number of minorities seeking graduate degrees. The catalyst for the analysis and revisions was the November 9, 1992 incident of a racial slur written on a campus trash can, African American students on campus demanded reforms and refused to leave newly hired President Dr. Carl V. Patton office until their demands were met. Twelve hours later the GSU community began working towards finding the causes and creating solutions for greater diversity and understanding through multi-cultural awareness program. Progress was made from protesting, an African American Studies Department was created. University Archives, The Signal newspaper, Tuesday, November 17, 1992, Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University  Library