As K-State celebrates its 150th year, many in the community are taking a closer look at its past. One piece of K-State’s long history is the Uhuru, a newspaper originally created by the Black Student Union for African-American students at K-State, which has made its return to the K-State campus with a modern twist.
The first edition of the original Uhuru, which means "freedom" in Swahili, was published on Sept. 16, 1970. It ran for six years under the leadership of members of Phi Beta Sigma. Now, after almost four decades, the same Phi Beta Sigma chapter is teaming up with the K-State Collegian to bring it back under the new name Uhuru Kauli.
"It was really important that we brought it back," said Jesse Hill, treasurer of the Delta chapter of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity and sophomore in computer engineering. "With it being the 150th anniversary of K-State, that was the best time. If we hadn’t brought this back now, then when would have been the best time?"
During the 1970s, the Uhuru served not only as a source of news but also as a source of pride and unity for African-American students at a time when there were few black students at K-State. The Uhuru praised African-American students who were excelling at K-State and shed light on injustices they faced on campus.
Frank “Klorox” Cleveland was the Uhuru‘s first editor-in-chief. Cleveland was known around campus for speaking out against inequality. He even ran for student body president against K-State’s current dean of student life, Pat Bosco, and lost in a run-off.
The Uhuru carried on for about six years, but lacking funding and the support of a large audience, its glory days came to a halt in 1976.
K-State has changed in the last four decades. Hill said many events in the multicultural community are seeing an increase in attendance as people become more aware of the groups, and there are also more multicultural Greek chapters available to students now.
Today, the Uhuru is being brought back to life with a new twist on its original name. To mark the publication’s rebirth, it has been renamed “Uhuru Kauli.” “Kauli” means “opinion" or "speech" in Swahili.
The Uhuru Kauli will be published every Friday as a part of the K-State Collegian. It is open to a variety of groups who wish to express their opinion and describe their experiences at the university. This section of the newspaper will be dedicated to making sure the K-State Collegian serves diverse groups on campus by working with underrepresented student groups, from multicultural organizations to the LGBT community. Although the Uhuru Kauli features the perspective of minority student groups, it is designed to be relevant to all K-State students.
"We do a lot for the community at large [as minority students]," said Jessica Jasso, vice president of the League of Latin American Citizens and sophomore in secondary education. "Through this section in the newspaper, people will be able to know about us. I think it will bring multicultural groups together and unify the community at such a stronger level."
The main goal of the Uhuru Kauli is not only to create a home at K-State for all students by including underrepresented students in the “majority,” but also to enhance awareness and understanding of other cultures at K-State. The Uhuru Kauli will report on multicultural events on campus, recognize students who are working toward unity and highlight issues that minority students face.
Jasso said she hopes the section creates a greater unity among all minority students. As individual groups, she said, minority students are small, but if they were to ban together as one, they could more strongly impact the community at large.
"It’s going to be great to be united, to have a voice," Jasso said. "We don’t want credit about what we are doing, but we want people to make sure the knowledge is available for everyone to know."
The Collegian will be holding weekly meetings with members of multicultural student organizations and other interested students about each Friday’s Uhuru topics. To get involved and for more information, email [email protected].