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Black Student Database at U-M helps historians understand impacts of racism on Ann Arbor community

University of Michigan
Students in class

Researchers at the U-M are learning more about the history of racism at the university because of a new Black Student Database.

For the first time, the University of Michigan has gathered archives about African American students into one database that is accessible to the public. So far, it has already helped historians better understand the trends of segregation and racism on campus.

Terrence McDonald, Professor of History at the U-M and director of the Bentley Historical Library, says that showing a pattern of racism was a large part of their original goal.

“The whole point of this is meant to accumulate the stories so that we get a much better portrait about how the University has operated towards African American students and families over this whole time period.”

The database includes information about the students’ hometowns, and about where they lived while enrolled.

If you have any information that you think may be missing, you are encouraged to reach out to the database project.

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Cathy Shafran is WEMU's afternoon news anchor and local host during WEMU's broadcast of NPR's All Things Considered.
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