Student Activism at Smith

Records in the Archives reveal student activists have been working hard at Smith throughout its history, to bring awareness of and change to social, political, consumer, racial and gender challenges in the world.

The following images reflect some of the activist work by students on campus.  They have worked for women’s suffrage;

Student Petition to Organize Suffrage Club 1915

Student Petition to Organize Suffrage Club 1915

led boycotts against purchasing Japanese silk products as a way to curtail the Sino-Japanese War.  The boycott lasted a number of years and hit the Smith-fashion crowd hard, as this editorial cartoon from a December 1937 issue of the Smith College Weekly suggests.!

That Japanese Boycott, 1937

That Japanese Boycott, 1937

Marching to Support Hungary, 1956

Marching to Support Hungary, 1956

Students marched in sympathy for Hungarian students in 1956 when the Soviets invaded the country.

Voting Rights march in Northampton, 1960

Voting Rights march in Northampton, 1960

They took up political protests for African-American voting rights in 1960.  This image shows Smith students marching in downtown Northampton.

divestiture 1986

Occupation of College Hall re: divestiture 1986

Students participated in the Strike of 1970 activities against the Vietnam War and forced the College to consider divestiture of its South African ties in 1986.  Today’s students are more likely to protest corporate injustice, labor relations, and push for ecological sustainability.  Come view records of all sorts regarding student activism in the College Archives!

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