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The 1969 publication of Pitt’s Black Action Society is now fully digitized

A collage of archival photos show Black students engaging in various activities at Pitt

The University of Pittsburgh Library System’s (ULS) Archives and Special Collections has digitized “As-Salaam-Alaikum,” a 1969 publication of the University of Pittsburgh’s Black Action Society (BAS).

The 164-page digital artifact, whose title means “peace be unto you” in Arabic, contains artwork, poetry and photographs depicting Black student life during the 1968-69 academic year. It is part of ULS’ “Black Action Society Files, 1968-1992, UA.55.13.3” collection, which was donated in 1998 and contains meeting minutes, publications and subject files of the organization over 30 years.

BAS was formed in 1968 to address the needs and concerns of the Black student population at Pitt, which sought to increase the recruitment and admittance of Black students, incorporate more American history spotlighting the contribution of Black leaders into the University’s curricula and the development of a Black Studies program, among other goals.

Individuals who went on to have a lasting impact on the University, broader Pitt community and region, like Curtiss Porter (A&S ’69, EDUC ’84G) and Valerie Njie (EDUC ’71), were either contributors to this edition of “As-Salaam-Alaikum” or members of BAS at the time of its publication. Porter, who helped create the University’s Department of Africana Studies (formerly Black Studies), served as vice president of the National Urban League and as chancellor of Penn State Greater Allegheny. For nearly two decades, Njie served as the executive director of the Bidwell Training Center and is the immediate past president of the Pitt Alumni Association.


Photo courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh Library System