Bad Times

Collage of papers published by Black Americans for Democracy and the Arkansas Traveler 

WEDNESDAYS, 5-6:15 p.m., FALL 2020
GEAR 129

Learn more in this online tour developed by students in this course.

The 1970s were labeled "bad times" at the University of Arkansas. BAD Times was the newspaper of the Black Americans for Democracy (BAD), a student-run organization at the University of Arkansas in the late '60s and early '70s. Founded to increase black awareness and to protest the lack of inclusion and empowerment on the campus, the organization aggressively pursued change, mirroring the intensity of the national Black Power movement.  BAD produced a lengthy series of firsts, including the first black sororities and fraternities, the first black cheerleaders and the first black yearbook editor.  The group dramatically changed life on campus through persistent activism, including a number of disruptive protests.  BAD consistently pushed the university to increase the numbers of black students, faculty and administrators and to develop a Black Studies program.  In 1979, BAD changed its name to Students Taking a New Dimension (STAND), reflecting the turn to a conservative mood both on campus and the in national movement.

This Honors College Forum invites students to re-navigate the familiar terrain of the U of A campus through the lived experience of the membership of BAD. In so doing, the forum asks—and answers—four essential questions: 

  • What was it like to be one of 150 African American students in an undergraduate cohort of 9,000 in 1969?
  • What specific campus issues did BAD take on during the early 1970s and what methods did they employ to produce change?
  • How does the transformation from BAD to STAND parallel national shifts from political activism and protest on college campuses in the 1970s to the taming of that activist energy in the 1980s?
  • Relative to the campus protect spectrum, where are we now? 

Bad Times will feature guest appearances by original members of the organization as well as other prominent African American alumni, faculty and administrators.

About Charles Robinson:

portrait of manCharles Robinson is the Vice Chancellor for the Division of Student Affairs and a professor of history at the University of Arkansas. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history at the University of Houston, graduating with honors; a master's degree in history at Rice University and a Ph.D. in history at the University of Houston. Robinson has been a college professor for more than 20 years and served as vice chancellor of diversity and community prior to his current position. He has published four books: Dangerous Liaisons: Sex and Love in the Segregated South (University of Arkansas Press, 2003); Engaging Missouri: An Epic Drama of Love, Honor and Redemption across the Color Line ( iUniverse, 2007); Forsaking All Others: A True Story of Interracial Sex and Revenge in the 1880s South (University of Tennessee Press, 2010); and importantly for this Honors College Forum, Remembrances in Black: Personal Perspectives of the African American Experience at the University of Arkansas, 1940s- 2000s (University of Arkansas Press, 2010). Robinson has been invited by numerous universities and professional organizations to speak on a variety of topics.

During his tenure at the University of Arkansas, Robinson has been awarded the Fulbright College Master Teacher Award, the Arkansas Alumni Distinguished Teacher Award, and the Student Alumni Board Teacher of the Year Award. Robinson has also been cited for excellence and inducted into the university’s Teaching Academy. In addition, he has been honored with student and community awards such as the Lonnie R. Williams Bridging Excellence Award by the Black Student’s Association, the Martin Luther King Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award by the Northwest Arkansas MLK Community Association, the Torchbearer Award by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., and the Honorary Alumni Award by the Black Alumni Society of the UA Alumni Association.