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"Black History...Your History" from Our Evolution Our Voice. 2007

Black Voices at UC Davis

Highlighting Student Publications by our African American Community

It’s Black History Month, and Archives and Special Collections is highlighting three student publications that are invaluable for understanding the African American student experience at UC Davis over the last half century.

For all of these publications, the desire to uplift black voices was the primary goal. They achieved this by providing African American students at UC Davis a space where their opinions, events, culture, art, etc. mattered and were the sole focus.

Third World News (Third World Forum)

The Third World News, later changed to the People’s Monitor and the title it is recognized by the most—Third World Forum, was a UC Davis student-run newspaper focusing on social and economic justice issues. It ran from 1970-2006, paused from 2006-2012, and returned for its final run in 2013. The full run of this newspaper can be found online. While the paper focused on the concerns of all people of color, some editions were tailored to address the concerns of one specific community.

For example, in the edition below, the newspaper focused entirely on the concerns of the African American community. It features an article on the conference on open admission hosted by the UC Davis Black Students’ Union (BSU). Sections of this edition include announcements, poems, and articles written about other issues affecting the black community at UC Davis. You can view the full digitized issue here.

Volume 1, Issue 20 of the Third World News student newspaper. This edition was titled a “Special Black Edition”. (March 8, 1971)

It was more common to see content from all minority groups in one issue. The Third World News had community editors (e.g. Asian, Chicano/a, Native American, etc.) who created content for the newspaper that reflected their respective community’s concerns.

We are black, yellow, brown, and red

We grow in the battlefields of Africa, Asia, and Amerika…

…But we shine with pride in our being, despite the darkness in which we live

We are the wretched of the Earth.”

Poem on the front cover of the Third World News Vol. 2, No. 7. (1971)

In this 1971 issue, there is an article on the Black Women Conference and announcements that are directed to the African Americans at UC Davis. In some instances, the communities came out in solidarity to support members of the Black community in the face of blatant racism.

The last page of the newspaper includes a piece titled “Inward Reflections,” authored by the Black Editor Shawn Ortiz.

Back cover of Volume II, Number 7 of the Third World News. (November 23, 1971)

View the full contents of the Volume 2, Number 7 issue here.

If you are interested in more examples of the Third World News when it transitioned to a new title, Third World Forum, check out the current exhibit By Any Means Necessary located on the first floor of Shields Library.

African American Quarterly

The African American Quarterly was a publication published each quarter by students focused on providing resources to African American students to help them succeed at UC Davis. Launched in winter quarter 1991, some of the contents of this publication include articles and interviews with successful peers, staff, and faculty. The staff for the African American Quarterly publication encouraged contributions and welcomed additions to their staff.

In order for the African American student to gain a sense of ease and direction it is imperative that they are made aware of the services other African American students, staff and faculty have successfully established.”

African American Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 1. (Winter 1991)

The Winter 1997 issue, shown above left, includes resources for First Year Students and articles about topics that affect African American students like Proposition 209. In the Fall 2001 issue, shown above right, there is a similar outline to the publication but the editors also include a recipe for gumbo from a piece titled “Christina’s Kitchen.” In all issues available in our holdings, the voices of the students are at the forefront of publication.

Our Evolution

The publication Our Evolution, later named OuR Evolution Our Voice, is another student publication that was focused primarily on giving voice to the African American community through the written word. This publication encouraged students to share their papers written in African American Studies classes or other critical pieces that discussed the issues that the African American community faced. This publication does include creative pieces, such as poetry, like the other publications. But the editors also include critical or historical pieces.

[OuR Evolution Our Voice] strives to replace ignorance with knowledge and racism with acceptance, and limits with opportunity. Through the written word we seek to empower the existence of Black students at UCD, and share with the greater community our experience.”

Our Evolution Our Voice Mission Statement
Front cover of Volume 1 Issue 1 with an illustration of a UC Davis student. (2004)
Front cover of Volume 5, Issue 2 with an illustration that reflects the “Promoting and Tracing Heritage” theme. (Spring 2007)

For example, in the issues above the publication features an article about the potential of Barack Obama as a politician and his potential for becoming president. Additionally, the publication includes opinion pieces on student life at UC Davis and other resources that relate to the experiences of African American students. The publication offered Black students a place to discuss a range of topics that engaged them to be more involved in their community.

To view any of the resources in this post, please watch this video on requesting materials from Archives and Special Collections. You can also stop by our Reading Room during our open hours.

Related Resources

The following resources created by the UC Davis Library also celebrate resources available to learn more about African American and African Diaspora history.


Archives and Special Collections Campus and Local History


Archives and Special Collections Black History Month serials student voices