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Smith Libraries Exhibits

The 1970s

Two student members of the Black Students Alliance, c1970.


The 1970s was a decade of growth for the BSA. With the Mwangi Cultural Center available to them the BSA broadened its educational and social justice programs to include the "Children's Workshop," where local African American women and their children could participate in art projects, improve their skills development, and find a safe place to spend time together.

The BSA supported the Smith-Amherst Tutorial Project which brought together students from Smith College and Amherst College and children in the Holyoke and Springfield public schools. Lectures, "rap sessions," and educational conferences were sponsored by the BSA. A student-operated consignment store on Green Street operated with funding from the group. Cultural programs were expanded, including the Black Theater Workshop which was housed in the Theater Department.

An annual Black Arts Festival, the major fundraiser for the BSA, was held every March. At this event African American students could celebrate their artistic creativity; enjoy a concert by a major African American artist; view African American films; and learn more from an outstanding African American woman, who was to receive the Otelia Cromwell Alumnae Award. The all African American gospel choir, Genesis, was organized at this time and performed as well.