Down Through the Years: The Legacy of the Yale Black Seminarians

Event time: 
Monday, October 7, 2019 (All day) to Friday, December 20, 2019 (All day)
Divinity School Library (SDQ) See map
409 Prospect St
New Haven, CT 06511
Calendar Speaker/Performer: 
Curator: Jathan Martin
Event description: 

For the African American community, the 1960s was a period marked by significant movements in the struggle of social change and racial uplift. From the Civil Rights Movement to the rise of Black Power, African Americans shaped an ideology centered around Black Consciousness and the Black Church held an important role, serving as a locus for justice and resistance.
Within this cultural climate, there arose an emphasis on diversity in higher education. The increase of Black students at Yale Divinity School during this time illustrates this phenomenon. Drawing from the ideological framework of Black Consciousness, in 1968, the Black students at Yale Divinity School united to form an organization. The following school year, the organization was formally recognized as an official student group—The Yale Black Seminarians.
Yale Black Seminarians served as the mouthpiece for Black students at the Divinity School and the broader community. Their advocacy spoke to equitable hiring processes of Black faculty, proposed the creation of the Black Church Studies program, and aided in the birth of the Black Church at Yale. This activism extended beyond the walls of academia with the organization’s involvement in the New Haven Black Panther Trails and its fight for positive representation of Black people in the media. Throughout its history, the thumbprint of the Yale Black Seminarians has continuously encouraged the arc of our community to bend toward justice.
For fifty years, the Yale Black Seminarians have mobilized the presence of Black students at Yale Divinity School through advocacy, faith, and the pursuit of justice. By showcasing artifacts and stories held “down through the years,” this exhibit honors a rich legacy. Among this exhibition’s features are an award from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, unique ties to Historically Black Colleges & Universities, and the organizational history of justice and resistance.