University History: the Black experience at Penn State
The purpose of this guide is to create a broader understanding of the history of Black student life, faculty, staff, and alumni at Penn State University, through resources and collections available in the Penn State University Archives.
Welcome to the Black experience at Penn State research guide!
The purpose of this guide is to create a broader understanding of the history of Black student life, faculty, staff, and alumni at Penn State University, through resources and collections available in the Penn State University Archives. Please check back often. This research guide will continue to evolve and grow over time.
The University Archives serves as the institutional memory of Penn State. We identify, acquire, and maintain records of enduring value—regardless of format—that chronicle the development and experiences of the Penn State community since the University’s founding in 1855. As part of the Eberly Family Special Collections Library, University Archives aims to make materials available for intellectual discovery, use, and learning that connects the Penn State community, scholars, and the public.
Penn State’s historical record as told by the University Archives is not an equitable one, and the materials documented here are but a small accounting of Penn State's Black history. The University Archives hold a fair amount of material from the period of student activism in the 1960s and 1970s, but collections that reflect the broader experiences of Black student groups, faculty, staff, and alumni – especially from more recent decades – are sparse. We now seek to collect and share a broader representation of stories and events—large or small in size, political or social in nature, academic or athletic.
Image credits: brochure: The Black presence at Penn State (19xx); Black students (African American students) general vertical files (00389); Black-and-white photograph: the Nittany Lion and Paula J. wearing the newly designed freshman dink (The Penn State Journal, vol. 2, number 7, September 1969)