A group of black students committed to achieving racial justice through nonviolent means was already in existence at Indiana University Bloomington by the spring of 1968. But the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4 th in Memphis, Tennessee galvanized black activism on campus.
One of the ways black students encountered racism in Bloomington in the 1940s was in its eating establishments, many of which illegally refused them service. One undergraduate student was particularly frustrated not to be able to get a quick meal between classes. Although George Taliaferro’s life-sized photo hung inside the Book Nook on Indiana Avenue, the defensive back who had led the Hoosiers to their first Big Ten victory in 1945 had to trek all the way to the west side of town to get fed.