1968-1969 to 2018-2019: Historic Upheavals, Enduring Aftershocks

Five decades ago, racial tensions, cultural upheavals and technological advances helped define the tumultuous 1968-69 era. This collaborative, yearlong series examines the impact and inspiration of those various events, from an inaugural panel discussion about the 1968 presidential campaign and its Minnesota ties to a gallery exhibit exploring the protest and takeover of Morrill Hall at the University of Minnesota in 1969 to series-culminating lecture by Carol Anderson, author of the best-selling White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide. Copresented by the Institute for Advanced Study, University Honors Program and Northrop.


September 13, 3:30pm 

Youth Culture, War, and Politics: A Discussion with Bill Howard and Mary Beth Yarrow (moderated by John Rash, Star Tribune)

This discussion features family members of some of the 1968 Presidential candidates, discussing their experiences of the late 1960s—what it was like to be a young person and student at the time, their experiences being at the Democratic National Convention that year, and the background of the Vietnam War. The student protest movement was active both on campus and around the country, and there is much we can learn now from what was happening at the time.

Best Buy Theater, 4th Floor, Northrop. Free and open to the public.

October 11, 3:30pm 

American Justice: Nancy Gertner and Lecia Brooks (moderated by Elaine Tyler May)
This panel discussion will bring retired Federal Judge and Harvard Law professor Nancy Gertner and Lecia Brooks of the Southern Poverty Law Center into a moderated conversation to discuss issues of race and justice in America. The two will discuss the roles of the justice system and advocacy, and why the history of the late 1960s is so relevant to issues of violence and race today. The audience will be invited to participate in the conversation with these two distinguished speakers to address the fraught topic of race and justice in America.

Best Buy Theater, 4th Floor, Northrop. Free and open to the public.

November 8, 3:30pm 

Campus Protests, Representation, and Educational Reform: John Wright, Jean O'Brien, Lena Jones (moderated by University of Minnesota Provost Karen Hanson)

The civil rights struggles of the 1960s led to calls for establishment Afro-American and American Indian studies programs at the University of Minnesota. In 1969 the activism of African American and American Indian students and supporters led to the founding of Departments of Afro-American Studies (now African American & African Studies) and American Indian Studies (the first in the nation). The new intercollegiate Higher Education Consortium on Urban Affairs, or HECUA, soon followed. A panel of program founders and leaders will discuss the history of these efforts and the 50-year legacy of educating students about diversity and identity.

Best Buy Theater, 4th Floor, Northrop. Free and open to the public.

February 21, 3:30pm 

Why Go to the Moon? Apollo, the Space Race, and the Many Faces of Lunar Exploration: Roger Launius

What is it about the Moon that captures the fancy of humankind? A silvery disk hanging in the night sky, it conjures up images of romance and magic. It has been counted upon to foreshadow important events, both of good and ill, and its phases for eons served humanity as its most accurate measure of time. This presentation by retired NASA Chief Historian Roger Launius discusses the Moon as a target for Human exploration and eventual settlement. It explores the more than 50-year efforts to reach the Moon, succeeding with space probes and humans in Project Apollo in the 1960s and early 1970s, as well as the space race with the Soviet Union. It will then also discuss the rationales for spaceflight, and ideas for returning to the Moon in the twenty-first century.

Best Buy Theater, 4th Floor, Northrop. Free and open to the public.

April 11, 3:30pm 

Dreamscape: Rickerby Hinds (UC Riverside)

This dramatic hip-hop spoken word and dance performance depicts the death and inner life of a young woman, Myeisha Mills, based on the true story of Tyisha Miller. It reimagines the night she was shot by four police officers while she lay unconscious in a car. The two-person play takes a powerfully clear-eyed look at the relationships between race, the body, and violence by following the trajectory and impact of the 12 bullets that struck her—each one triggering its own unique memory.

Best Buy Theater, 4th Floor, Northrop. Free and open to the public.

April 18, 7:00 p.m.

Carol Anderson: White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide

Since 1865 and the passage of the 13th Amendment, every time African Americans have made advances toward full participation in our democracy, white reaction has fueled a deliberate and relentless rollback of their gains. In this presentation, Anderson will discuss her New York Times bestselling book that carefully links historical flashpoints when social progress for African Americans was countered by deliberate and cleverly crafted opposition. Her work pulls back the veil that has long covered actions made in the name of protecting democracy, fiscal responsibility, or protection against fraud, rendering visible the long lineage of white rage. This timely discussion adds an important new dimension to the national conversation about race in America.

Carlson Family Stage, Northrop. This is a ticketed event. Tickets may be purchased by clicking this link.



Opens Tuesday, Jan 22, 2019

Morrill Hall takeover, 1969

On January 14-15, 1969, approximately 70 Black students from the University of Minnesota took over Morrill Hall, the administration building housing the Office of the President. The event lasted 24 hours—changing the history of the University and resulting in the founding of an African American Studies department. Fifty years later, a new exhibit titled Takeover: Morrill Hall, 1969 will open in Northrop's fourth-floor gallery to tell the story of the events. Archival documents, photographs, and recordings—some publicly exhibited for the first time—depict the power of student protest. The exhibit is free and open to the public and on display during regular Northrop hours.

Fourth Floor Gallery, Northrop. Open during building hours.


Opens Fall 2018

Jake Torkelson and his colleague Shreya Goshal wrote their undergraduate honors thesis about campus protests in 1960s and 1970s as it related to architecture. This exhibit examines the concept of protests at the U and riot architecture through archival, background, oral history, and bibliographic work.

On display in the University Honors Program Offices, 3rd Floor, Northrop.


Throughout the 2018-2019 Academic Year

The Institute for Advanced Study is partnering with various archives throughout the University to present a rotating display of materials from 1968-69, including a partnership with the University Rare Books Archives to display books first published in 1968. Other partnerships include the Humphrey and McCarthy Archives.

On display in the Institute for Advanced Study Offices, 2nd Floor, Northrop. 


This series is being presented by the Institute for Advanced Study, the University Honors Program, and Northrop. Additional funding and sponsorship has been provided by:

  • Humphrey School of Public Affairs
  • University Libraries
  • Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center
  • Department of History
  • Department of English
  • Department of Sociology
  • Friends of the Libraries
  • Imagine Fund
  • Heritage Studies and Public History
  • College of Liberal Arts
  • Law School
  • Department of Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature


September 6-7

The Humphrey School of Public Affairs: 50th Anniversary of the Kerner Commission Report National Conference

Join us in Minneapolis on September 5-7 for ­­­­­the 50th Anniversary of the Kerner Commission Report National Conference, a major colloquium on race relations in America featuring urban leaders, highly accomplished scholars, thought leaders and historical eyewitnesses. Panelists will examine the meaning of Kerner—the landmark 1968 report that declared the United States was moving toward two societies, "one black, one white; separate and unequal”—through a timely and provocative analysis of persistent gaps in education, employment, housing, welfare and police-community relations. This conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required. More information here.

September 28, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

U-Spatial: Workshop: Mapping 1968, Conflict and Change

Focusing on the importance of this 50 year anniversary we are calling out to all faculty, staff, students, and community partners to participate the Mapping 1968: Conflict and Change workshop. This all-day event is designed to bring people together into working groups based on common themes.  Bring your talent and curiosity to apply an interdisciplinary approach to further explore the spatial context of these historic and/or current events. Learn new skills on mapping techniques that can be applied to any time in history. To compliment the expertise that you bring to the workshop, working groups will also have the support of library, mapping, and data science experts to help gather, create, and organize the spatial components of a given topic. This event is free, though advance registration is required. To find out more and to register by September 26, please click here.

October 10, 6 p.m.

Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC): Mapping Prejudice: Racism, Rent, and Real Estate in Minneapolis

Join scholars and community members in a UROC Critical Conversation of Minneapolis's hidden history of racial covenants in Minneapolis. The discussion will center on new research showing what communities of color have known for decades—that structural barriers and legalized discrimination barred many people of color from buying property and building wealth for most of the last century. The discussion is part of the Minnesota Housing Partnership's Racism, Rent and Real Estate series that explores the past, present, and future of housing equity in Hennepin County communities during the 50th anniversary year of the Fair Housing Act. A partnership between UROC and the University of Minnesota Libraries' Mapping Prejudice Project, the event is also a part of the University's 1968-69 to 2018-19 Historic Upheavals, Enduring Aftershocks symposium sponsored by the University of Minnesota's Institute for Advanced Study, Northrop, and University Honors Program.

November 17, 12:30-3p.m.

Minnesota Historical Society: Examining Injustice Series: Resilience During Tough Times (Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, 270 North Kent St, St. Paul)

Join a multigenerational conversation about lessons of resilience during tough times. Enjoy a short video in which University of Minnesota students and elders from Hallie Q. Brown share experiences around identity and reflect on their values. Following the video and facilitated by the Minnesota Historical Society’s Teen Action Group join in a community dialogue to engage in conversation and share your own experiences about resilience and navigating injustice. Finally, explore artifacts and photos selected by the Teen Action Group in conjunction with the dialogues held between the young people and elders from Hallie Q. Brown. Light food and refreshments will be provided.

December 6, 7p.m.

Minnesota Historical Society: First Thursdays at the Capri, Detroit (Film Screening)

From Kathryn Bigelow, the Academy Award winning director of THE HURT LOCKER and ZERO DARK THIRTY, DETROIT tells the gripping story of one of the darkest moments during the civil unrest that rocked Detroit in the summer of ‘67. With speaker John Whitehead. $5.00 per person.

January 19, 9a.m.-4p.m. 

Minnesota Historical Society: VocalEssence Together We Sing Festival (Free with registration; additional cost to see all MNHS exhibits)

Every social movement in modern history has been inspired by music that rouses the masses, speaks truth to power, and cements public consciousness. On MLK weekend, join VocalEssence and guest artists to raise your voice and give back. Sing songs of protest and progress, move your feet to the rhythm of justice, try your hand at spoken word performance, and volunteer for a cause during a morning or afternoon session. To learn more and register for a specific session, click here!

Follow the series on social media! We'll be tweeting and posting throughout the year with the hashtag #68at50