Located directly in North Hall, huge black and white photos showcase the UCSB North Hall takeover. Students walk idly by on their way to class never really paying attention to the content on the walls. Tours are led through the hall, but many tour guides make no statement about them. Here sits a historical site of a day that many students and visitors know nothing about.
On October 14th, 1968, twelve students stormed North Hall and barricaded themselves inside the room which held the main computer system of the university. These activists were members of the Black Student Union who at the time, strived to create equality on campus. They threatened to destroy the computer system if Chancellor Cheadle did not seek out this issue.
The members had eight demands such as creating a black studies department, hiring a black EOP counselor, and firing Jack Curtice: the football coach who was known for being aggressive and racist toward the African Americans players. After using minimal to no force in order to maintain peace, Chancellor Cheadle compromised with the students and thus the Department of Black Studies was born.
Some years later, members of the Black Student Union sought out the Chancellor to create a mural to commemorate this life-changing event, and now there sits three installations of wall-sized photographs taken during the event, on North Hall.
In an interview conducted by Jeff Wing, Dr. Jeffrey Stewart (Chair of the Black Studies Department) stated that “The idea was to create something so that black visiting students could see that they had presence, and were making a real contribution here [UC Santa Barbara]” (Wing).
These murals are meant to show the positive outcome of the famous North Hall takeover. As the article What is Collective Memory states, “in order to explain the present, leaders of a group reconstruct a past using rationalization to choose which events are remembered, those that are eliminated, and rearrange events to conform to the social narrative” (Memorial Worlds).
This site memorializes these brave students who fought for what they believed in by going out of their way and doing the unthinkable. It does not in any way show those people that disagreed with this act of courageousness and boldness. It creates a source on campus that exemplifies self-determination, not only for African American students, but for everyone else as well.
The photos make a powerful statement about having the right to have a voice on campus and be able to walk around and feel just as equal as anyone you walk by.