Panga Nyeusi

In September 1968, the first issue of Panga Nyeusi, Northeastern’s African American newsletter, was published. Published erratically, the newsletter provided students with international, national, and campus news. Although Panga Nyeusi, meaning black sword, was the first publication of its kind at Northeastern, the newsletter did not elicit a significant reaction until it became entangled in a conflict between the African-American Institute’s student run Steering Committee and its directorial staff.

First Issue of Panga Nyeusi
Issue on African-American Institute Steering Committee

In the winter of 1971, intense meetings between the directorial staff and the student Steering Committee of the African-American Institute focused on the direction and agenda of the institute. During this controversy, Panga Nyeusi, which had been created by students from the African-American Institute, decided to play more of an advocacy role than a strictly objective role reporting the news. Although the newsletter staff did not care for the position of the students on the Steering Committee, Panga Nyeusi cared even less for the stance of the African-American Institute’s staff. In their editorials, Panga Nyeusi writers informed the African-American Institute’s staff that their purpose was to serve the African American student body. In addition, Panga Nyeusi staff accused the Steering Committee of being opportunistic. The November 1, 1971 edition of the newsletter accused the institute’s staff of taking an electric typewriter and cameras belonging to Panga Nyeusi.

Because of Panga Nyeusi’s position in this conflict, several students and the Institute’s staff drove the newsletter out of the African-American Institute. A few students attempted to continue the newsletter, but without the institute’s resources, maintaining Panga Nyeusi was difficult. While Panga Nyeusi staff realized the need to give voice to Northeastern’s African American students, the last issue of the newsletter was printed in January 1972.