The Western Activist Collection

The Western Activist was an underground, student-run newspaper that was published from 1966 to 1969 at Western Michigan University.

Western Activist image

About the collection

The Western Activist was created in 1966 by WMU students who valued free-speech, equal rights and social justice, and wanted an end to the Vietnam War. It was started as an alternative to the Western Herald, which was considered to be too heavily influenced by the University's administration at the time. While publication of the newspaper only lasted a few years, the creators' perseverance amidst pressure to be silenced still speaks to the ideals of student activists today.

The Zhang Legacy Collections Center houses The Western Activist collection including original copies of the newspaper, several examples of alternative student newspapers from other campuses during the same era, and a few articles about the Activist by local news organizations. Although it is unknown how many issues of The Western Activist were created and likely that the collection is incomplete, it is a good representation of what students were concerned about at the time, and it's unfiltered. 

In an effort to preserve the collection and provide greater access, University Libraries partnered with Central Michigan University to digitize 52 issues of the newspaper and make them available online.

About the contributors

About the contributors

The Western Activist collection was made possible thanks to the help of former faculty advisors, Professors Lynwood Bartley and Richard Miner, and Dan Foley, the newspaper's lead student reporter/editor. Their dedication to maintaining the physical collection and establishing the online archive, as well as preserving the social justice-minded ethos of the Activist, means future generations will be able to study and learn from The Western Activist.

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