Thursday, May 6, 2010

Forty Years Ago Today in Brooklyn: May 6, 1970: Brooklyn College reacts to Kent State

From our diary:

Wednesday, May 6, 1970

A cold, hairy day. I relaxed for a change this morning. I did pass by Midwood [High School, our alma mater], which was on strike. When I did get on campus after 2 p.m., I went to the office and did some work. We'll have to postpone, or as things turned out, cancel the elections.

Paul and I went to a crammed meeting of concerned faculty who voted to strike indefinitely. The black and Puerto Rican students want the school kept open, however.

I was in the liberated President's office when a bomb threat call was received, and Boylan Hall was evacuated. Meeting were held everywhere: Student Government in SUBO, strike steering committee at Whitman, blacks at Roosevelt.

Kneller called the Concerned teachers "unrepresentative" but called off classes for the rest of the week. We had to lock our office so that it won't be taken over.

Things are pretty confused. Strikes are going on all over the country and there's a Washington demonstration scheduled for this weekend. Various people around the campus that I've been speaking to - Richard Pontone, Esther, Mitch and others - are not sure of what's happening, and neither am I.

Dad's Bronx store [on Fordham Road] was closed due to the Fordham demonstrations.

The New York Times the next day featured a story by McCandlish Phillips, "City High Schools Join in Protests," which began
Demonstrations, protests and boycotts hit at least 20 of the city's 90 public high schools yesterday.

Thousands of students reacted with anguish or anger to the military sweep into Cambodia and to the deaths of four Kent State University students, shot by National Guardsmen at the school on Monday. . .

High schools situated near college campuses were the most heavily affected. . . Lines of pickets from Brooklyn College formed outside Midwood High School in Brooklyn, affecting attendance there. About 1,500 students from Brooklyn Technical High School went to the Long Island University auditorium on the downtown Brooklyn campus, at the invitation of L.I.U. students.

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