Monthly Archives: February 2013

Hearing From Students Directly

When trying to get a feel for how students feel about certain local issues or to see what they’re thinking about being a student at Northern, The North Wind has traditionally done “man on the street” interviews. The “Opinion Poll” and “Sound Off” show pictures of students and their answers to a particular question.

I like reading through them when I’m going through old newspapers. I’ve collected a couple that I thought were funny or interesting.

This one from 1990 asks, “What do you think the sports dome should be named?” Some of the answers are “The Yooper Dome” and “The Queen City Coliseum.” Predictably some people use the opportunity to be funny. Someone suggested “Gordon” as the name for the Dome.

sound off

In the 90s, Northern administrators considered whether winter break should be three or four weeks long. Accompanying an article in the newspaper, students were asked what they thought about the debate.

sound of

There are plenty of questions that aren’t based on Northern but on the lives of these students. In 1993, The North Wind asked, “Do you have any plans to volunteer this holiday season?”

sound off

Written by Lucy Hough

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Ishpeming’s Gossard Factory

NTbeaumier1 Today we have a slightly unusual item from the BHC collection. It is a corset made by the H.W. Gossard Company. This item is in our collection because although the company was originally founded in Chicago, in 1920 they bought a warehouse in Ishpeming and turned it into a new factory. This corset was made during the time it was in operation.

NTbeaumier2The factory was a very important part of the community in Ishpeming for as long as it was open. In its hay day, the factory employed well over 500 people, the vast majority of which were women, and helped to pump money into the city’s economy. The factory was in operation until December 31, 1976. The building is now the Pioneer mall in downtown Ishpeming.

This item is currently off display.

Written by Stephen Glover of the BHC

Black History Month: The Griffis Incident

As February draws to a close, we take some time to honor Black History Month. Each year NMU schedules a plethora of events in celebration. This year, Northern hosted events such as a showing of the film “American History X,” a presentation by Ilyasah Shabazz (the daughter of civil rights activist Malcolm X), and Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of a memoir called “The Beautiful Struggle,” as well as a soul food luncheon called “Taste of History.”

Here at the archives, we did our own little digging into the history of NMU during the civil rights movement, and uncovered a protest which occurred right here on campus in December of 1969. A black NMU student, Charles Griffis, had been accused of having a girl in his Spooner Hall dorm room, which was in violation of University regulations. As a result, the All-University Student Judiciary voted to suspend him for two semesters.

Sit-In News CoverageIn response to the Judiciary decision, more than 70 black students took control of the Dean of Students Office and held it for 19 hours. Dr. Allan Niemi, Vice President for Student Affairs, was threatened and held for a half hour. President John X. Jamrich was denied entry during this time, and the office was vandalized, resulting in $395 in damages. Griffis later appealed the decision and was acquitted.Patrick Williams news photo

After the incident, an investigation ensued. The Black Student Association and 24 black students faced possible charges from the University, but eventually all charges were dropped. This event is but a small example of moments that have helped shape the civil rights movement, and serves as a reminder of the discrimination that many valuable citizens have faced in America. Though our country still has a long way to go, it’s encouraging to see how far we have come.

If you’re interested in learning more about this NMU event and other student riots, come visit the NMU Archives in room 126 of the LRC (down by Starbucks).

Prepared by Alexandria Eisner and Olivia Ernst.