Friday, May 7, 2010

Forty Years Ago Today in Brooklyn: May 7, 1970: Brooklyn College reacts to Kent State

From our diary:

Thursday, May 7, 1970

Another day of protest and turmoil. On campus early, I was chased out of Kneller's office by the strike leaders - the liberators seem to be becoming repressors.

Paul and I went to a liberation class with Jerry Sachs [a sociology professor] and we discussed how this whole movement relates to us as individuals.

Marc's school [James Madison Junior High School] was closed, as were most others, and there was a huge high school rally at the [Whitman] amphitheater. I'm amazed that they're so politically aware.

Michelle Nagel and I went to the Concerned Faculty meeting, then went with José to the mass meeting at Whitman [Auditorium]. I left there and went into LaGuardia and rapped with Esther and a black guy who wore a nameplate saying "outside agitator emeritus."

After lunch, I went to the Sociology Department meeting. Sachs rented a bus to Washington and people bought tickets. After considerable discussion they passed a resolution supporting the strike for the rest of the term.

Tired and somewhat disgusted, I spotted Irma and she drove me home. I took some photos, but everyone gets so touchy about being photographed.

This week, as Sachs said, seems three years long. I don't like not thinking all this through.

Funeral services were held for Jeffrey Miller, one of the dead Kent students. Some people are using the tragedy to further their own causes.

Of all people, Interior Secretary Hickel called on Nixon to "end the war on the young."

The New York Times had a front page story by Linda Charlton, "Activity Stepped Up Here; Students Move Off Campus to Widen Protest Here," which began
The tempo of student protest over United States involvement in Cambodia and the shootings at Kent State University quickened yesterday in the metropolitan area, and the scope of demonstrations broadened, moving off the campus and into the streets as the emphasis shifted from strikes at colleges to activities involving the nonacademic world.

...Even when student demonstrations were agressive, response from college officials was often muted. At Brooklyn College, where 150 students took over the office of the president, John W. Kneller, he responded with a statement announcing the cancellation of classes today and tomorrow "to signify the university community's solidarity in opposition to American involvement in Cambodia and the insensitive disregard for human life evidenced by the incidents at Kent State University."

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