The Oberlin Review

Black Lives Matter protesters marched from Tappan Square to the Post Office on June 6.

Black Lives Matter Protesters Gather in Tappan Square

June 30, 2020

Protesters gathered in Tappan Square on June 6 to protest the murders of George Floyd and other Black men and women killed by police. During the demonstration, several speakers addressed the crowd to talk about the history of police violence against communities of color and demanded change on the local and national level.  After protests against police brutality spread in cities in the U.S. and across the world, Oberlin resident Janet Gonzalez formed a Facebook group called Oberlin Peaceful Demonst...

Student Senate Stands in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Student Senate

June 22, 2020

The individual members of Student Senate who drafted and approved this document are solely responsible for its content and the views expressed herein.  Student government is not authorized to speak on behalf of Oberlin College and Conservatory. Dear Oberlin College and Conservatory Community, We write to you today to stand in solidarity with the nationwide protests and uprisings of the past three weeks, calling attention to and condemning white supremacy and anti-Black racism in the United States. The issues that stem from the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, David McAtee, and more — such as structural racism and the controversial history of policing — impact us all, both ...

65 Foundational Works in the Field of Africana Studies

Department of Africana Studies

June 14, 2020

Editor’s Note: This list of resources was originally attached to ABUSUA’s Letter to the Administration and Board of Trustees.  This following selection of works (written, visual and aural texts) have been combined by the faculty and affiliate faculty of Oberlin College’s Department of Africana Studies, to provide for its major, minor and interested students a list of what members of the department see as foundational works in the field of Africana Studies. The interdisciplinary nature of the field and the multi-disciplinary range of the contributors to this collection provides a broad, deep, and complex interpretation of works fundamental to the description, study, and creative expression of Africana peoples (continental...

NFL Protest Debates Distract from Purpose

Booker C. Peek, Emeritus Associate Professor of Africana Studies

September 7, 2018

To the Editors: Last week, America paid tribute to Aretha Franklin and John McCain, who both strove to make America greater than ever by unceasingly underscoring the need for us to embrace differences and engage with those whose views differ from our own. We are one people, one nation, and one world, in spite of the fights we may have on any given day. This Thursday, a new National Football League season starts. Many players want to bring an end to police brutality against blacks, and last year many did not stand for our National Anthem as a sign of protesting this violence. They have a right to do as they please, but there are consequences. One has been that their action has taken most of the attention off their go...

Kweku Bransah performs “The Art of Making Dances {Not About Ferguson}”, a dance choreographed by Robin Prichard. The performance engages with U.S. history and the present climate of anti-Black violence through dance.

Bransah Performs Black Lives Matter-Inspired Choreography

September 29, 2017

Editor’s note: This article contains mentions of anti-Black violence. In Warner Main Space, dancer Kweku Bransah took the stage with a noose around his neck, wearing a suit and one clown shoe, to perform Robin Prichard’s “The Art of Making Dances {Not About Ferguson},” a dance interpretation of his narrative as an African American man in today’s political climate. While the piece was performed for Oberlin students and faculty on Tuesday, it has existed for some time. The dance was cho...

Students chant across the street from Gibson’s Bakery in Tappan Square Thursday evening. Protests ran from around 11 a.m. until Gibson's closed at 11 p.m.

Students Call for Gibson’s Bakery Boycott

November 11, 2016

Update: Since this article was originally written, President Marvin Krislov and Dean of Students and Vice President Meredith Raimondo have issued an official response to Student Senate's resolution ceasing all support for Gibson's Bakery, financial and otherwise. The text of the response can be found here. Chants of “No justice, no peace” reverberated across campus from early morning into late last night as hundreds of protesters lined West College Street, calling for a boycott of Gibson...

Oberlin ACF Actions Polarize Campus

Josh Koller, Contributing Writer

September 30, 2016

This is the first installment in the Review’s new Student Senate column. In an effort to increase communication and transparency, Student Senators will provide personal perspectives on recent events on campus and in the community. Oberlin College’s student body is never at rest, nor should it be, given the current state of global, national and campus-wide affairs. The event generating the most noise at the beginning of this week was the panel centered on anti-Semitism held by Oberlin Alums for Campus Fairness on Sept. 22. Along with my fellow Student Senators, I took part in sending an open letter to the student body condemning the actions of ACF. Some people may wonder why Senate chose to take this stance, and...

Non-Black Allies Must Engage With Protest Critics

Jasper Clarkberg, Contributing Writer

December 4, 2015

On Nov. 6, Aaron Pressman wrote a column accusing “students who make up the majority opinion” of stifling dissent on campus (“Discouraging Dissent Stifles Intellectual Growth,” The Oberlin Review). I have heard this “millennial college students don’t want to debate” criticism from many places recently, including friends and family. While I understand the reasoning behind this claim, I believe that it is misguided and worth responding to. Pressman claims that Oberlin culture precludes the possibility of debate on social justice topics, particularly about Black Lives Matter, and that this culture hampers our Oberlin education. Purportedly, because Oberlin culture is not open to debate on certain topics...

Staff, Faculty of Color Stand with Campus Protesters

November 20, 2015

An open letter from staff and faculty of color at Oberlin College and Conservatory: To the students at Missouri State, Yale, Ithaca, Claremont McKenna and elsewhere: As you have raised your voices against racism to demand better, we have been overcome by heartbreak and inspiration. It is heartbreaking that in 2015 Black and other students of color still encounter racial insensitivity, invalidation, intimidation and even violence on the campuses that promised to be enlightened and welcoming places of learning for them. Yet it has been inspiring and humbling to witness your courage and unity in confronting not just your campus cultures but also your most powerful officers to demand accountability for all students. It i...

Alumni Leaders Support Students’ Call for Diversity, Sensitivity

Lorri Olan, Chuck Spitulnik, and Andy Rowan

November 20, 2015

To our friends in the Oberlin community: We are the three officers of the Oberlin Alumni Association and are proud to be part of Oberlin’s long and proud tradition of standing upright and facing issues and challenges related to social justice, racial equality and inclusiveness, broadly defined. We are proud of the role Oberlin has played in defining the country’s consciousness about these issues, from the early days of admitting African-American students and women on a fully equal basis to more recent struggles over wars, civil rights, gender recognition and a variety of important social questions. Oberlinians have always, as First Lady Michelle Obama admonished the Class of 2015 to do, run to the conflict, not away f...

Beyond Solidarity: Linking Campus Movements, Not Moments

Megs Gisela Bautista, College fifth-year and Student Senate Liaison

November 13, 2015

To the Editors: To the Black students here at Oberlin College, as well as at the University of Missouri, Yale University, Claremont McKenna College, Howard University, Ithaca College and college campuses around the country, let me be clear: This is not simply an expression of solidarity. After hearing one hair-raising story after another accounting the casual, interpersonal, implicit, deliberate and institutional erasure and dehumanization of Black culture, Black power and Black lives, we are here to say: We are with you; you have nothing to lose but your chains. I cannot begin to speak for the experiences of Black students confronting anti-Blackness on college campuses; that would facilitate the erasure of the nu...

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