Erb Memorial Student Union

Erb Memorial Student Union

  • <p>The Erb Memorial Student Union opened in 1950</p>

The EMU, located at the heart of campus, opened in 1950. Over the years, students have come here to rally, protest and speak out on current social and political issues. In the 1960s students gathered here to protest the Vietnam War and speak about civil rights.

After protests and negotiations with the UO administration, Black students formed the Black Student Union in 1966 to address racial discrimination on campus. They also advocated for Black Studies and hiring Black faculty. Those needs resurfaced in 2015 on the Black Student Task Force’s list of 13 demands.

The Black Student Union was the first student union to be recognized by the Associated Students of the UO (ASUO), followed by the Native American Student Union and many more.

In this same time period, Black students at Lane Community College founded the Black Student Union on their campus.

From 1968-1970 the Black Panther Party, which included both students and community members, was active on the UO campus. Howard Anderson was Captain and Ray Eaglin was General of Eugene’s Black Panthers.

The Black Panthers, part of the Black Power movement, was a “revolutionary organization with an ideology of Black nationalism, socialism and armed self-defense, particularly against police brutality,” according to the National Archive.

During the tumultuous late 1960s, Larry Carter (1936-2011), an award-winning UO Sociology professor and local civil rights advocate, helped work through tensions between the city of Eugene and the Black Panthers.

The demonstrations, protests and uprisings on campus were part of the broader local civil rights movement, sparked by the founding of the Eugene chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in 1963. CORE members demonstrated against racism, gathered data on incidents of police profiling, and tested job and housing listings for racial discrimination. Among CORE’s members were UO students and faculty and children of Eugene’s early Black families, including Sam Reynolds Jr., Lyllye Reynolds and Willie Mims.

The NAACP, a widely recognized organization that has worked for racial equality and social justice for over a century, established a chapter in the Eugene-Springfield area in 1976.

  • <p>An article written in a Black Panther publication on campus</p>
  • <p>A Black Panther rally at UO in 1969.</p>
  • <p>A student during a UO Black Student Union meeting in 1970.</p>
  • <p>A UO Black Student Union meeting in 1970.</p>

Directions to next location

Carefully cross E. 13th Ave. and turn left, heading west. Friendly Hall is on your right.