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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:   Kake Walk History

      Creator:  University of Vermont

      Date:  1967-12-12

      Resource type:   records (documents)

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        Title:   Kake Walk Skit

        Creator:  University of Vermont

        Date:  1967

        Resource type:   black-and-white photographs

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          Title:   Kake Walk Skit

          Creator:  University of Vermont

          Date:  1967

          Resource type:   black-and-white photographs

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            Title:   Kake Walk Skit

            Creator:  University of Vermont

            Date:  1967

            Resource type:   black-and-white photographs

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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:   President's Explanation of the Discontinuation of Kake Walk

                  Creator:  Rowell, Lyman S.

                  Date:  1969-11-17

                  Resource type:   correspondence

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                    Title:   Presidential Committees Press Release

                    Creator:  University of Vermont

                    Date:  1969-10-15

                    Resource type:   announcements

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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:  1969-11-12

                          Resource type:   correspondence

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                            Title:   Response to Discontinuation of Kake Walk

                            Creator:  University of Vermont

                            Date:  1969-11-14

                            Resource type:   correspondence

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                              Title:   Response to Discontinuation of Kake Walk

                              Creator:  University of Vermont

                              Date:  1969-11-05

                              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:   Response to Discontinuation of Kake Walk

                                  Creator:  University of Vermont

                                  Date:  1969-11-11

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

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                                    Title:   Response to Discontinuation of Kake Walk

                                    Creator:  University of Vermont

                                    Date:  1969-10-29

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

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                                      Title:   Response to Discontinuation of Kake Walk and In-State Student Ratio

                                      Creator:  University of Vermont

                                      Date:  1969-11-05

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

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                                        Title:   Response to Discontinuation of Kake Walk and In-State Student Ratio

                                        Creator:  University of Vermont

                                        Date:  1969-11-10

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

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                                          Title:   Statement by 1970 Kake Walk Committee

                                          Creator:  University of Vermont

                                          Date:  1969

                                          Resource type:   announcements

                                          This document announces the elimination of blackface and wigs from the next walk, but Kake Walk was abolished entirely before the 1970 Winter Carnival.

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                                            Title:   Statement by President Rowell

                                            Creator:  Rowell, Lyman S.

                                            Date:  1969-10-31

                                            Resource type:   announcements

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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:   Supplied Burlington Chamber of Commerce

                                                Creator:  University of Vermont

                                                Date:  1955-11-29

                                                Resource type:   announcements

                                                This document mentions "Wide, Wide World," a Sunday afternoon television program (aired 1956 - 1958) which broadcast events in North America, Europe, and the Caribbean.

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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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