Marc Arsell RobinsonFeb 2, 2024
Washington State Rising
Black Power on Campus in the Pacific Northwest
New York University Press 2023
In the late 1960s, as the United States was wracked by protests, assassinations, and political unrest, students in Washington State seized the moment.
In Washington State Rising: Black Power on Campus in the Pacific Northwest (NYU Press, 2023), California State University, Bernardino, history professor Marc Robinson tells the story of African American students at Washington State University and the University of Washington, and how their activism transformed their campuses in from 1967 thru the early 1970s. By founding Black Student Unions and engaging in various forms of direct action, student Black Power activists at these two campuses confronted racism and inequality both on campus and in the surrounding cities of Seattle and Pullman. Robinson also describes how the very different contexts of the two campuses - one in a city with a politically active Black community, the other in an overwhelmingly white, rural, small town - shaped activist strategies and outcomes. While many histories of student activism in the 1960s focus on Berkeley and Columbia, Washington State Rising makes a strong case for looking at less well studied college protests to understand both Black history in the West and as a window into a tumultuous era in American history.
Dr. Stephen R. Hausmann is an assistant professor of history at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and is the Assistant Director of the American Society for Environmental History.