The OSU Black Student Union Walkout of 1969!

Black History Month Display

Class boycotts, rallies, a walkout — what was happening at OSU during winter term of 1969? In February of 1969 OSU’s head football coach Dee Andros told Fred Milton, a black athlete, to shave his facial hair. Milton’s refusal sparked a local controversy and ignited students to fight for their rights!

Want to know more? Come see the display in the Archives Reading Room and check out the Digital Collection in Flickr!

Want to learn more? Contact Oregon Multicultural Librarian Natalia Fernández at

Exhibit co-curated by OSU University Archives Student Workers Ingrid Ockert, Kelsey Ockert, and Daniel Pearson

This entry was posted in archive_events, Black History Month, Exhibit, Flickr, Main Page, Oregon Multicultural Archives, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The OSU Black Student Union Walkout of 1969!

  1. Pingback: Celebrate Native American Heritage Month! | Oregon Multicultural Archives Blog

  2. Jesse ThunderBoy says:

    Regarding Former Oregon State University
    Basketball Coach Amory Tingle “Slats” Gill

    The following information is readily available, however, is apparently often overlooked, excused, non-weighed, or otherwise omitted from consideration in various “honors” bestowed on former Oregon State University basketball coach (1928-1964) Slats Gill. The fundamental consideration here is whether tenure, success (wins), power & privilege, outweigh the shameful damages of racist attitudes & practices at a “public” educational institution which continues the “honoring.”

    FACT: In 1963, State Representative Berkeley Lent, who later went on to be Chief Justice of the
    Oregon Supreme Court, publicly accused OSU Basketball Coach “Slats” Gill of intentionally
    forbidding Blacks from playing on the basketball team.
    One of Gill’s defenders stated,
    “Slats was a very moralistic man. He didn’t believe in (male) Negroes going out
    with White girls… when there were enough girls of their own kind on campus,
    he would.” ((Historical White male racist sexual phobia “moralistic” ?))
    FACT: Gill is also said to have sworn that no Black man would ever play on the OSU basketball team while
    he was coach. He largely complied with his pledge during his 36 year coaching career at OSU
    (1928-1964) and served as OSU Athletic Director until his death in 1966.
    FACT: Nevertheless;
    > OSU honored Slats Gill by naming “Gill Coliseum” after him.
    > Gill served as President of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (1957-58).
    > Gill was honored with induction to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame,
    the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.
    > “The Slats Gill Sportsperson of the Year” (1957-present) is awarded to the outstanding coach,
    administrator or organization from an Oregon-based team at any level of competition.

    For decades OSU coach Slats Gill deployed a personal racist policy to limit educational & athletic opport-unities for “non-Whites” at Oregon State University. Hence, the immeasurable damage is historical fact.
    It is alarming to witness from many who knew him the acknowledgement and consequential acceptance that Gill was a racist. His OSU contemporaries, such as head coaches Tommy Prothro (Football 1955-64 & College Football Hall of Fame 1991) & Dale Thomas (Wrestling 1957-90 & College Wrestling Hall of Fame) both acknowledged Gill’s racism at OSU.
    Surely in the aftermath of World War II the University of Berlin would not name a political science lecture hall after Adolf Hitler to honor and glorify his decades of “success” as a political public speaker. Perhaps
    “Gill Coliseum” brings innocent pride to decades of Gill’s favored Caucasian basketball players, in which they may not register the impact of denial of their opportunity to play and interact with non-Caucasian teammates. Admittedly, the magnitude of Hitler’s racism did not eliminate as many “undesirables” as did Gill’s at OSU, however, it is a basic principle of American justice that each denial of human rights and opportunity contrib-utes to generations of damage. In this regard, continued honoring of racism exemplifies unacceptable protect-ion of historical racism and serves as a foundation of continued institutional racism.
    Honoring Slats Gill contributes to shameful denial in favor of the constructive illusion of his honorable leadership in public higher education.
    Surely the quality of educational experience at Oregon State University has benefited from numerous contributions and service of outstanding individuals worthy of honoring—all without racist practices.
    After all, the OSU Alumni consists of state, national and world leaders in a multitude of endeavors—including basketball coaching.
    The re-naming of “Gill Coliseum” would celebrate that all were accepted now and would be an honorable separation from an icon of an embarrassing past—Oregon State University deserves much better.

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