Social Movements at Illinois

Cover of “Geek,” Feb. 23, 1970. Image #0008297.
Billy Morrow Jackson mural for Project 500, 2003. Image #0008299.

This resource guide is intended to provide primary sources and

background reading related to social movements, student protests,

and demonstrations that have occurred on campus throughout the last

several decades. These include academic freedom and free speech,

LGBTQ rights, civil rights and racial justice, Latinx history and the La Casa

protest of 1992, women’s equality, disability rights, and war protest.


If you have questions about any of this material, please contact the Student

Life and Culture Archives at (217) 333-7841 or email or





Using the Archives:

Primary Source Tutorial


Social Movements General Sources:

Daily Illini student newspaper (digitized years 1873-1975)

Illio yearbook (digitized years 1895-2011)

University Board of Trustees Biennial Reports (digitized years 1867-2011)

Overviews of Social Movements and Student History Timeline:

Cold War Resource Guide (Overview of Topics)

Student Timeline (left side of website)


Academic Freedom/Freedom of Speech

Background Reading:

Students for a Democratic Society conference flyer, undated. Found in RS 41/6/840, Box 30.

“Conflict Over Academic Freedom and Free Speech at U of I” resource guide

Wisseman, Nicholas, “Falsely Accused: Cold War Liberalism Reassessed,” Historian, June 1, 2004

Primary Sources:

Students for Free Speech newsletter, March 20, 1967

See also entries under “Vietnam War” below


Civil Rights/Racial Justice


Cover of the Walrus, 1968. v.2 no. 1  Image #0008295.  Digitized issue here

Project 500 and Black Power on Campus, 1965-1975:

Background Reading:

Project 500 research guide

Jordan, Angela, “Black Power on Campus, 1968-1969” blog post, September 14, 2014

Williamson, Joy.  Black Power on Campus: The University of Illinois, 1965-75 (UI Press, 2003)

Primary Sources:

Project 500:  Black Power at Illinois, History class exhibit project, 2012, including documents from Archives

Black Student Association Publications

Walrus, 1968 — issue digitized at the right

Williamson-Lott, Joy,  Black Power on Campus, powerpoint presentation for UI Sesquicentennial, October 26, 2017 — contains primary sources (download to view entire powerpt)


Black Lives Matter, 2000s

Primary Sources:

Being Black at Illinois (Record Series 41/66/22)

Black Students for Revolution (RS 41/66/23)


Gay rights supporters march on campus, Jan. 30, 1987. Image #0008164. Copyright Illini Media Group.

Background Reading:

Dilley, Patrick. Gay Liberation to Campus Assimilation:  Early Non-Heterosexual Student Organizing at Midwestern Universities (Palgrave, 2019)

“Pride Month 2015:  LGBT History on Campus,” blog post by Caitlin Stamm, June 4, 2015

Primary Sources:

Digital Sources – LGBT at UIUC

People Like Us (RS 41/66/815)

Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations, LGBTQ timeline at UI, 20th Anniversary Facebook site, and 2013 interview with Curt McKay (iSchool alumnus, administrator and LGBTQ activist)

Curt McKay feature piece on iSchool website, 2018

UPCenterCU oral histories — “The UP (Uniting Pride) Center of Champaign County is a multi-service agency, for youth and adults, with a purpose to support and promote human care, education, and community-building activities directed at furthering the well-being and development of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and ally community of Champaign County”

Chief Illiniwek

Background Reading:

Fighting Illini FAQ

Primary Sources:

“A Challenge to the Chief,” Illio, 1975, page 154

“Chief… Chief…Chief,” Illio, 1979, page 73

WILL Media Archives- coverage of the Chief 

In Whose Honor? documentary – students and staff can sign up for free to watch through Kanopy; this is a documentary but it includes primary sources

Kaufman, Stephen, “Chief Illiniwek:  A Brief History and Call to Action, ” Public I, May 2019


Feminist Movement

Supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment, ca. 1976. Image #0004949. Copyright Illini Media Group.

Background Reading:

“Second Wave Feminism on Campus”

Templeton, Patty. “Second Wave Feminism in the Student Life and Culture Archives”

Primary Sources:

Women’s Week Announcement, 1976

Sexist Pig Contest, 1976. Flyers and reactions in Daily Illini (RS 41/66/100, Box 1)

National Women’s Music Festival, 1977 (RS 41/3/10, Box 6)

Women Fight Back, 1980 (RS 41/66/100, Box 1)

Women Students’ Union Newsletter, Jan/Feb1976 (RS 41/66/100, Box 1)

Women’s Community Newsletter, Nov. 1980 (RS 41/3/10, Box 8)

Women’s Community Newsletter, Nov. 1981 (RS 41/3/10, Box 8)

Office of Women’s Resources and Services Newsletter, Apr. 1984 (RS 41/3/10, Box 6)


Latinx History and 1992 Protest on Campus

La Casa mural. Photo credit: Abigail Bobrow.



Background Reading:

Esquivel, Arisve.“On Whose Terms? The (In)visibility of the Latina/o Community at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign” Counterpoints, Vol. 195, INTERROGATING RACISM IN      QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY (2003), pp. 123-143

Primary Sources:

Freeman, Richard.  “The 1992 Protest,” 2009– documentary contains footage from the 1992 protest and oral histories interviews

“Cops Remove Latino Protesters at U. of I.,” Chicago Tribune, May 5, 1992

“Latinx Students’ 1992 Protest Sparks Solidarity,” Daily Illini, April 20, 2017

La Casa Cultural Latina Publications (RS 41/64/840)


Disability Rights on campus: Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES)

Gizz Kids team member and Gizz Kids cheerleader, ca. 1950. Image #0003357.

Background Reading:

Expanding HorizonsA History of the First Fifty Years of the Division of Rehabilitation -Education Services at the University of Illinois (Champaign: Roxford, 1998)

Primary Sources:

DRES Digital Resources

Exhibit: “Gaining Momentum: DRES at the University of Illinois” — including primary sources




Vietnam War

Vietnam War demonstrations, May 4, 1972. Image #0002165.


Background Reading:

Metz, Michael, “Flashpoint: Unfolding the Events that Led to the Climax of the Student Protest Movement at Illinois,” Illinois Alumni, Spring 2020

Metz, Michael, “RESIST: Building a Culture of NonViolence” presentation at YMCA Friday Forum, March 29, 2019

Kennedy, Patrick, “Reactions Against the Vietnam War and Military Targets on Campus:  The University of Illinois as a Case Study, 1965-1972,” Illinois Historical Journal v84 1991

Chronology of Campus Protests: (download button on left)

Jordan, Angela.  “The Time has Come the Walrus Said,” blog post, February 14, 2014

Primary Sources:

“Geek” cover, April 1970. Image #0008296.

Fein, Vern.  “Campus Demonstrations: A Protester’s Perspective,” Tour of campus led by Vern Fein during the event, Radical Illini: Conversations on Student Activism October 4-5, 2019

Fein, Vern, “Campus Demonstrations: A Protester’s Perspective,” Demonstration Tour Notes

Images from Fein Tour Notes document:

Disturbance on Green Street, May 1970

General Motors Protest, October 1970

Support Moratorium, 1969

Student Holds Sign at Campus Strike, c May 1970

Students for Free Speech newsletter, March 20, 1967

Geek Boycott, April 1970

Geek, February 23, 1970

“Protesters End Dow Visit,” Daily Illini, October 26, 1967

“Violence Flares after Police Kill Young Urbana Black Man,” Daily Illini, August 1, 1970

Cover of the Walrus, 1968

Walrus description record

Digitized Walrus issues

Archives Search- Photographs (as example, search: “Demonstrations“)