A momentous day in Pitt history — Jan. 15, 1969 — will be commemorated next week. On that day, 50 years ago, during an era of activism to achieve progress, a group of Black Action Society students along with some campus allies and community supporters did something that brought lasting and beneficial change.
After attempting, without success, to engage University senior administrators in improving academic and campus life for Blacks at Pitt, the students determined another way. On the evening of Jan. 15, 1969, they organized at the William Pitt Union, walked across Bigelow Boulevard to the Cathedral of Learning and occupied the computer center for more than eight hours. Their call for change was heard.
That event, a direct action initiated by the months-old Black Action Society, was the catalyst for progress not only for Blacks at Pitt, but also for raising awareness of the value of diversity in building community — a hallmark of the University’s 2019 values.
On Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, the 50th anniversary of this significant moment in Pitt history will be commemorated with a reading of first-person accounts by several alumni who participated in the 1969 sit-in. The event will begin at 4 p.m. in the Kurtzman Room in the William Pitt Union, continue with a processional walk to the Cathedral of Learning and conclude with a commemoration ceremony and reception in Alumni Hall.