Breaking News
More () »

New book features University of Idaho’s Black history

The book created by Brody Gasper and Sydney Freeman Jr. highlights more than a century of the Black experience on the Moscow campus.

MOSCOW, Idaho — The University of Idaho honors the long history of the Black community throughout the years.

UI’s President Scott Green said, “For well over a century, Black Vandal students, faculty and staff have enriched our campus in the broader Idaho community.”

The University of Idaho is providing future generations access to school’s Black history through a new book.

"So the book focuses on the past, present, and even the future of Blacks at the University of Idaho, the idea is to inspire those within the state,” said Sydney Freeman Jr., the book's author and a professor at the U of I.

Freeman said the university's Black community is growing, and the book, "Seminal History and Prospective Futures of Blacks at the University of Idaho" reflects that.

"From a faculty and staff standpoint, we have a little less than 20 that are here, and I know we have around 100 Black students," Freeman said. "We cannot tell our story our full and honest story without including the story of Black folks and their contribution to the state and university.”

The book starts with the first Black graduate.

"Jennie Eva Hughes graduated in the first graduate class here at the university of Idaho. So, that's in the late 1890s,” Freeman said.

The book also features a football legend.

"Ray McDonald one of the most prominent football players coming out from the University of Idaho. He had not been honored, but through the work with the athletics department late last year. We got his number retired from the roster,” Freeman said.

Aside from all the Black trailblazers at the university, the book also features the movements that made a huge impact on today’s courses.

"Students led in the creation of a Black history course that now leads to what we now have as the Africana Studies program, our Black Student Union that started in the early '70s and now has been reinvigorated. And now the Black Cultural Center,” Freeman said.

Freeman goes on to say the book is a start to understanding and learning how to create a safe space for U of I’s Black community.

"Sometimes there is this assumption that we can just bring Black students in," he said. "But there is no investment in diversifying the senior-level administration or mid-level admin, faculty and staff.”

The book is now available on the university’s website.

"This has been a wonderful journey and I look forward to continuing to highlight the work of Blacks at the University of Idaho and the state broadly,” Freeman said.

Some previous Idaho Black History stories from KTVB:

Watch more Local News:

See the latest news from around the Treasure Valley and the Gem State in our YouTube playlist:

KTVB is now on Roku and Amazon Fire TVs. Download the apps today for live newscasts and video on demand.

Download the KTVB mobile app to get breaking news, weather and important stories at your fingertips.

Before You Leave, Check This Out