“A Fly in Buttermilk”: Black Campus Movement Organizations, Demands, Protests, and Support

  • Ibram X. Kendi
Part of the Contemporary Black History book series (CBH)


Shortly after molding the Organization of African and Afro-American Students at American University (OASATAU) in 1968, Walker “Moose” Foster clarified the group’s function. “All our lives, we’ve been told that niggers ain’t nothing.” But “it does mean something to be a Negro,” said the 19-year-old son of a maid and butler. “We want to appreciate our cultural differences.” Since first stepping on the Washington, DC, campus, “I felt like a fly in buttermilk. I was stranded in a wasteland, in affluent Spring Valley. The only Negroes we saw up here were janitors. I mean, it could be me or my parents.” In the fall of 1969, the University of Tennessee BSU circulated an orientation booklet that exclaimed, “The Black student must realize that, here at U.T., he constitutes what is analogous to the ‘fly in the buttermilk.’”1


Black Student White Student Black Study Athletic Director Black Faculty 
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© Ibram H. Rogers 2012

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  • Ibram X. Kendi

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