Matheson History Museum Exhibition

We’re Tired of Asking: Black Thursday and Civil Rights at the University of Florida

Researched and curated by University of Florida graduate Alana Gomez, “We’re tired of asking: Black Thursday and civil rights at the University of Florida” follows one slice of African American history in Gainesville, but certainly not all of Gainesville’s Black history. 

The goal in this particular exhibition is to show the Civil Rights movement in Gainesville, Florida, from the 1960s until the early ’70s and how that affected the University of Florida’s racial atmosphere. 

The online exhibition will debut on the museum’s website on Wednesday, Jan. 19 ( Two weeks later the physical exhibition will open at the museum on Wednesday, Feb. 2. 

It wasn’t until the desegregation of the University of Florida in 1957 that Black people began gaining access to public spaces with White people. The issue of civil rights was pushed even further with the partial integration of Alachua County’s public schools in 1964. Even with these seemingly large strides toward equality, however, social status and lifestyle remained largely unchanged for Black people in Gainesville. 

In a great show of strength on April 15, 1971, Black students decided to take a stand in a protest at Tigert Hall on the UF campus. Their interaction with President Stephen O’Connell would change the course of the University of Florida forever. 

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