UVA Black Students (1970s), Courtesy of Special Collections

Leave it to one of pop music’s most brilliant lyricists, Sly Stone, to condense the courage and beauty of black humanity into one simple yet emotionally dense chorus.

Over the past five years, I’ve probably listened to Sly’s 1971 classic, There’s A Riot Goin’ On, a trillion times, but during my drive from Charlottesville to Jacksonville last week, “Brave and Strong” resonated with me in ways that it had never before. As Sly’s words collided with Larry Graham’s infectious bass lines, I couldn’t help but think of those black students who through their presence and institutional building efforts sought to transform UVA into a more democratic space…Brave & Strong.

Here’s a few photos from the 70s:

WUVA, 1970, Courtesy of Special Collections

Students Minority Conference (1970), Courtesy of Special Collections

African American Female Student (1970), Courtesy of Special Collections