HS student visitors to MIT, 1972

The BSU at 50, 2018

Author(s): Alice Waugh/Technology Review
  • Type: Article
  • Researcher: Other Researchers
  • Timeline: 2010s
  • Affiliation: Multiple

About the Article

In October of 2018, Technology Review published an article to mark the 50th anniversary of the Black Students' Union (BSU). The article outlines the BSU's history and includes reflections by members of MIT's Black community.

In 1968, the black student community at MIT was small and needed a way to amplify its voice. Formed during that tumultuous year in political and racial history in the US, the MIT Black Students’ Union (BSU) launched a journey of advocacy and community that now continues 50 years later.

In the late 1960s, about 11 percent of Americans were black, but each 1,000-member class at MIT had perhaps half a dozen black students. Galvanized by the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., black student groups were forming at overwhelmingly white college campuses across the country, and MIT was no exception. The students who started MIT BSU had two goals in mind: to support each other and to bring more black students to the Institute. “Surely there were more than three blacks in the high school class of 1965 who could belong to the MIT tribe,” says Linda C. Sharpe ’69, one of the BSU founders, who is a past president of the MIT Alumni Association and a former MIT Corporation member.


Waugh, Alice. "The BSU at 50." Technology Review (23 October 2018).