BSU50: The Power of Community

MIT Black Students' Union through the Decades

Expand Table of Contents
Galvanized by the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, black student groups begin to form on predominately white college campuses across the country, including MIT.
Poster: "mit bsu" by Dietmar Winkler, c. 1970
Photo: Display/Kind Company

Image crop from Instagram post by Display/Kind Company @thisisdisplay, 23 June 2015: "MIT BSU ['The MIT Black Students Union suggests you consider graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology'] poster" [designed by Dietmar Winkler of the MIT Office of Design Services, c. 1970s]. From the ‘Swiss Style: International Graphic Design’ exhibit at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich [Museum of Design Zurich].

Interactive Timeline

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.

"The BSU at 50," MIT Technology Review, November/December 2018


The BSU has always played a major role in helping the Institute to not fall back from the goals of commitment and participation of black students, faculty, and administration. It’s been a key agent in helping MIT look at itself.
- Clarence G. Williams, Adjunct Professor of Urban Studies & Planning Emeritus and Former Special Assistant to the President of MIT