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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: A Troubled Memory Lane

    Creator:  University of Vermont

    Date:  1977-10-27

    Resource type:   newspapers

    Kimberly Honza's article in The Cynic discusses efforts to reinstate Kake Walk and the likelihood of doing so.

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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:   New Winter Carnival Press Release

        Creator:  University of Vermont

        Date:  1969-31-1969

        Resource type:   announcements

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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:   Response to Discontinuation of Kake Walk

            Creator:  University of Vermont

            Date:  1969-11-11

            Resource type:   correspondence

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              Title:   Statements by the Kake Walk Directors and President Rowell

              Creator:  University of Vermont; Rowell, Lyman S.

              Date:  1969-10-31

              Resource type:   announcements

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                Title:   The Vermont Cynic

                Creator:  University of Vermont

                Date:  1954-02-19

                Resource type:   newspapers

                Includes a front page editorial calling for the end of blackface.

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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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                    Title:   The Vermont Cynic

                    Creator:  University of Vermont

                    Date:  1969-10-31

                    Resource type:   newspapers

                    Includes the results of the student opinion poll on Kake Walk and announces the decision to replace Kake Walk with a film festival.

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                      Title:   With Kake In Hand

                      Creator:  University of Vermont

                      Date:  2004-02-24

                      Resource type:   newspapers

                      Nicholas Rahaim's article in the The Cynic discusses racism and Kake Walk.

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