On November 6th, 1968, SFSC’s Black Student Union, America’s first BSU, led a 400-student protest by infiltrating campus administrative buildings. Police responded with heightened violence before shutting the campus down.
But our people were too creative for them. And what the BSU did next? The authorities never saw it coming.
On December 2nd, 1968, the infamous “Sound Truck Incident” occurred. Blasting music, BSU students parked a truck with huge speakers at a popular campus intersection, saying they wouldn’t quiet down until their demands were met!
At this point multiple teachers joined the strike, but the BSU wasn’t done!
Organizing a “book-in” with library student workers, they left hundreds of books at the circulation desk, clogging up day-to-day operations. This was effective, too – but one student wanted to get even more explosive!
Things escalated when a bomb exploded in an arts building. The responsible student was injured, but his actions led to a temporary truce, and on March 20th, 1969, the administration agreed to establish a College of Ethnic Studies and admit all students of color for the upcoming fall semester!
Recently, Howard students protested for better housing by taking over an academic building until their demands were met. Like these students, we have to exercise innovation and the power of Black organizing when traditional strategies aren’t being taken seriously!