Clemson students created the Student League for Black Identity (SLBI) in 1968. The group organized social and cultural activities for the campus and local communities and promoted issues and activities of concern to black students.
(click on documents and photos for larger images)
In January 1969, the group presented a list of discussion questions to President R.C. Edwards on a variety of topics concerning academics, athletics and campus life.
The SLBI also sponsored “talk ins” open to the public to discuss current issues. On at least one occasion, authorities recorded the license plate numbers of people who attended these meetings.
SLBI members were concerned with issues such as the use of the Confederate flag on campus, playing the song “Dixie” at sporting events and a skit using “blackface” that was being rehearsed for Tigerama in the Fall of 1969. That semester some members of SLBI left campus for a time due to concerns over their safety.
In 1971, the Student League for Black Identity joined with the Clemson Players to stage a series of dramatic performances titled “A Dream Deferred: An Evening of Black Theater.”
The Student League for Black Identity also sponsored the first Black Awareness Week in 1972. Black Awareness Week later developed into the celebration of Black History Month.
In addition, the SLBI assisted Clemson administrators who were developing plans to increase minority enrollment. The group sponsored an on-campus orientation for prospective students and some SLBI members visited high schools to talk about their experiences and try to recruit students to attend Clemson.
In 1980 the Student League for Black Identity changed its name to PAMOJA (Swahili for “togetherness”). PAMOJA continued into the late 1980s.
Documents and photographs are from Clemson University Archives Series 12 – R.C. Edwards Papers, Series 150 – Department of Performing Arts and Series 37 – CU Subjects. Photographs from Taps.