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Black Vandals’ Contributions to U of I Highlighted in Free Course

February 05, 2024

MOSCOW, Idaho — A dynamic open-access curriculum/course detailing the valuable contributions Black people have made at University of Idaho is now available to the public, in time for Black History Month. Explore the extraordinary stories and experiences of Black Vandals who made indelible marks on U of I from its inception.

The course, “The Seminal History and Prospective Future of Blacks at the University of Idaho,” is based on the 2023 book of the same name written by Brody Gasper and Sydney Freeman Jr., founder and director of U of I’s Black History Research Lab (BHRL). It chronicles the contributions of Black people at U of I starting in the late 1890s when Idaho’s first Black graduate, Jennie Eva Hughes, began attending. The course also covers the present status of Black students at the university, including discussing the reestablished Black/African American Cultural Center, the Africana Studies program and Black Student Union. It also provides suggested directions for the future of Black students to ensure they flourish and thrive.

The course was created through a collaboration between U of I’s Black History Research Lab and University Library and was developed by Freeman and Annabelle L. Lyne, a doctoral student at University of Kansas.

The course is full of little-known facts, including that U of I once had multiple Black fraternities and sororities that chartered on campus, and includes videos, supplementary primary documents, quizzes, tests, etc. It was developed for those within and outside the university community.

This month, the BHRL and the U of I Library will launch the updated Black History at the University of Idaho website, which will include 10 new videos that complement research articles related to Black history at U of I; nearly 20 new research features on areas ranging the from Black Liberation movement to the contributions of prominent Black alumni such as Jeff Guillory; and timelines detailing nearly 1,000 primary documents and members and advisors of the U of I Black Student Union.

Visit to access the free course and other resources.

Media Contact

Melissa Epler
Director of Recruitment and Communications
College of Education, Health and Human Sciences

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at


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