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Kake Walk at UVM

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Collection Overview

The Kake Walk at UVM collection documents a former University of Vermont event that is for some a hallowed tradition and for others overt racism. The terminated competition, which was the highlight of the campus social calendar for over eighty years, featured fraternity brothers in blackface and kinky wigs dancing to the tune of "Cotton Babes."

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Time Period Covered: 1896 - 2004 

Source Document: University Archives, Record Group 53: Fraternities and Sororities, Series: Kake Walk 

Published:  May 29, 2010,  University of Vermont, Bailey/Howe Library, Center for Digital Initiatives

Rights:  http://cdi.uvm.edu/about/rights


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Title:   Black Image in White Vermont: The Origin, Meaning, and Abolition of Kake Walk

Creator:  Loewen, James W.

Date:  1991

Resource type:   chapters (layout features)

At the time of this digital collection launch, this chapter is the only known scholarly piece on UVM's Kake Walk. James Loewen was a professor of sociology at the University of Vermont. This chapter was published in a book commemorating the university's bicentennial: Loewen, James. "Black Image in White Vermont: The Origin, Meaning, and Abolition of Kake Walk." The University of Vermont: The First Two Hundred Years. Sr. ed. Robert V. Daniels. Hanover, NH / University of Vermont : Distributed by University Press of New England / University of Vermont, 1991.

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    Title:   Kake Walk Background

    Creator:  University of Vermont

    Date:  1978

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Urges the University to "clearly and publicly" oppose the return of Kake Walk.

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      Title:   Library Exhibit Materials

      Creator:  Gallagher, Connell B.

      Date:  2004

      Resource type:   visitors' books

      Resource type:   labels (identifying artifacts)

      In 2004, UVM's Bailey/Howe library held an exhibit entitled "UVM's Past: The Legacy of Kake Walk." Exhibit materials archived at UVM are presented here: draft exhibit labels, copied and redacted primary sources which may have been used in display cases, and a notebook containing visitor comments (starting on page 46).

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        Title:   Response to Discontinuation of Kake Walk

        Creator:  University of Vermont

        Date:  1969-12-26

        Resource type:   correspondence

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          Title:   Response to Discontinuation of Kake Walk

          Creator:  University of Vermont

          Date:  1969-11-03

          Resource type:   correspondence

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            Title:   Response to Discontinuation of Kake Walk

            Creator:  University of Vermont

            Date:  1969-11-07

            Resource type:   correspondence

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              Title:   The History of Racism at UVM: The Vermont Paradox

              Creator:  McCrorey, H. Lawrence

              Date:  2004-02-19

              Larry McCrorey, professor emeritus of molecular physiology and biophysics and former dean of the School of Allied Health, was among the most vocal opponents of Kake Walk. He delivered this speech, “The History of Racism at UVM: the Vermont Paradox,” on Feb. 19 at 4 p.m. in the McCrorey Gallery of Multicultural Art at the University of Vermont's Bailey/Howe Library.

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                Title:   The Vermont Cynic

                Creator:  University of Vermont

                Date:  1964-02-21

                Resource type:   newspapers

                This issue explores blackface, which had been recently banned, and documents the history of early opposition to Kake Walk.

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