50 years later, writer sees a changed campus for Black UW students

The Black Graduate Student Association celebrated Black History Month with a speaker series featuring influential alumni like Audrey Edwards, center.

I loved being the final keynote speaker wrapping up Black History Month at the University of Washington, where I graduated over 50 years ago. There were only about 100 Black students on a campus of 30,000 students back then. Now, there are about 1,300 and that includes a Black Graduate Students Association, consisting of brainy Black techies getting advanced degrees in science and technology.

I was thrilled that these children of the digital age wanted to hear why this Boomer left the states when a new political order took over, and then wrote a book about it. How wonderful to return to campus and see that the arc of Black history, despite ongoing struggles, still bends toward justice, led by the activist youth within every generation. 

I also loved that Kyle, one of the leaders of BGSA, had an Afro pick sticking out of his huge Afro during the day’s event. That’s exactly how the Black men of my Boomer generation sported their ’fros on campus. I suspect Kyle knew this and was just giving a Black history salute to a preceding generation. And to that I happily say, Right On!