UW American Heritage Center
1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071
Phone: (307) 766-4114
Fax: (307) 766-5511
The incident that came to be known as "The Black 14" began on October 17, 1969 when 14 African-American players were dismissed from the University of Wyoming football team by then coach Lloyd Eaton. These players wanted to wear black armbands during the game with Brigham Young University the next day to protest a policy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which they considered to be racist. BYU is operated by the LDS Church and the policy in question was one that would not permit African Americans to become priests.
Coach Eaton's actions and the University Board of Trustee's decision to support them led to a unique case pitting the constitutional right of free speech against the principle of separation of church and state. The case, known as Williams v. Eaton, would prove to be one of prolonged litigation that finally came to an end on October 31, 1972 with the U.S. Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit upholding the U.S. District Court's decision. The plaintiff did not seek to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The collection contains a silent, 2:18 minute film which portrays protesters, some with black armbands, staging demonstrations at the University of Wyoming. The film was found in a vault of the Wyoming governor's office in 1979. Additionally the collection contains a DVD of the 40th Anniversary Black 14 Panel Discussion, which included Mel Hamilton, John Griffin, Clinton Isaac Jr., Charles Graves, Kevin McKinney, and Ryan Thorburn.
The Branding Iron is the University of Wyoming Student newspaper and has been published since 1923. The collection contains material dealing with the Black 14 controversy in 1969, including articles from the Branding Iron covering the events as well as articles from other papers throughout Wyoming and the region, including coverage by the Denver Post's Rick Reilly in 1982. There is material pertaining to Coach Eaton including background and information on the civil trial that followed the suspension.
This collection contains materials collected by former University of Wyoming employee Irene Schubert regarding the dismissal of 14 black players from the University of Wyoming’s football team in October 1969. The players wanted to wear black armbands to protest the alleged racial policies of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, which operates Brigham Young University.
The collection includes correspondence, reports, memos, speeches, committee minutes, surveys, photographs, Board of Trustees records, and general office files documenting the operation of the University of Wyoming. There are two folders of correspondence and court documents related to the Black 14 incident.
The Stanley K. Hathaway papers contain personal and professional correspondence, newspaper clippings, and photographs from his career as Wyoming Republican State Committeeman, Governor of Wyoming, and U.S. Secretary of the Interior. Box 7, Folders 20-22 contain material related to the University of Wyoming Black 14 incident.
The Deborah Hardy collection consists of research materials used to publish her book on the history of the University of Wyoming. Box 3, Folder 16 contains research materials related to the Black 14 incident.