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Activism and Protests at Davidson College

A guide to archival collections and materials related to the history of student activism at Davidson College.

Anti-War Demonstrations

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Davidson students and alumni both participated in and protested against the Vietnam War. On campus, anti-war efforts included protests against the military draft and demonstrations against the presence of ROTC on campus. The tragic events of Kent State in May 1970, along with the expansion of the war into Cambodia, resulted in increased anti-war sentiments among students. Along with students, several faculty members organized around anti-war movements, including joining national protests and holding peace vigils and teach-ins on campus.

A group of students sit on Main St. to protest the Vietnam War (circa 1970s) (Photograph 27-1476)

Students protesting the Vietnam War on Main Street (circa 1970s)

Some resources on the Vietnam War at Davidson include:

Coverage in The Davidsonian

Campus publications, such as student newspaper The Davidsonian, covered events related to student activism and campus issues. For more information on anti-war demonstrations and the Vietnam War at Davidson College, browse digitized issues of The Davidsonian, online and available here. Individual issues are searchable by keyword.

Select articles related to anti-war demonstrations and the Vietnam War include:

"War Protest at Pentagon Draws Davidson Students" (October 27, 1967, pg. 1)

"Misty Peace Day Asks War's End: Support Higher Than Expected" (October 17, 1969, pgs. 1 and 6)

"Campus Erupts in Protest Over Cambodia, Kent State" (May 8, 1970 pg. 1) 

"Anti-War Protestors Force Cancelation of ROTC Drill" (May 8,1970, pg. 1)

"Peaceful Demonstrators Watch ROTC Awards Drill" (May 29, 1970, pgs. 1 and 4)

Archival Materials

Archival materials are the institutional records of Davidson College from its establishment in 1837 to the present day. Included within the collections are president's office records, academic department files, and student organization records. Listed below is a selection of relevant collections related to the Vietnam War and campus responses during this time. Collections are organized by record group, along with a brief description of the collection's contents, and are hyperlinked to the collection's digital finding aid.

Student Work (RG 10-1)

Description: This collection consists of student papers donated by several academic departments, with most of these examples from the 1970s forward. Here, there are two research papers related to the Vietnam War and Davidson College and one paper related to student activism on campus from 1965 to 1971.

Student Government Association (SGA), Records, 1927 - (RG 12-4)

Description: This collection consists of records from SGA, including information on student clubs and organizations, meeting minutes from various SGA committees, and documents related to campus life and policy decisions. Included in these records is information on the Vietnam War, as well as students' reactions to the war. 

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