BSU to BASA to RAACE to BSU again

The Black and African Student Association (BASA), which had originally been the BSU, was renamed during the 1990s to Recognizing African-American Concerns and Education (RAACE) and acted as a combined element of Black student groups on campus. However, the group had become less active by around 2004, and there was no real activity at the time in correlation with Black students. Jessica Samuels, an Academic Success Counselor at the University (in 2016), came to campus around 2004 as an undergraduate student. She noted that the revitalization of the BSU during this time was mostly done by older and non-traditional students for about a year and a half. During this time, she also notes, the BSU had managed to recruit some younger students, which she hoped would help the BSU continue its growth.

As a confirmation of this, an Argonaut article from November 2005 notes that a graduate student named Sherwin James was the BSU president and that he had announced the group’s renewal. According to the article, the BSU was reopened in February 2005, coinciding with Black History Month, and Sherwin James organized a meeting with student-athletes and BSU members to hear from Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page.1 The Argonaut article also mentions Jessica Samuels, who was planning a memorial event for Rosa Parks’ passing. This activity shows that the BSU in 2005 was reinvigorated and had a restructured organization that sought to increase the Black voice on campus. Despite this increased activity, Samuels mentions that after she and other graduate students left the school to continue their higher education, the BSU’s activity dwindled again and left the BSU somewhat inactive as it had been in the 1980s and 1990s.


  1. “Black Student Union Once More,” Black History at the University of Idaho,


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The Seminal History and Prospective Future of Blacks at the University of Idaho Copyright © 2023 by Brody Gasper and Sydney Freeman Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.