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DC Throwback Classic 7/11/16: Black Power Protests At Howard University In 1968

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Marcus K. Dowling


There was once a time in America where colleges and universities like DC’s Howard University that had largely Black populations educated largely Black student populations in a manner consistent with teaching them how to “go along to get along” in white-dominated America. However, by 1968, the mood had changed regarding education in America, and Black students at Howard demanded a greater representation of traditionally African-American notions in their educational process at a predominately Black college campus.

In 1968, demonstrators blocked the head of the Selective Service System from speaking at Howard regarding Black students heading to fight in Vietnam War. This sparked significant protesting, and campus administrators cracked down on dissent by ignoring student demands for greater Black-specific representation. In response, protesters took over Howard’s administration building in March 1968, and upon having their demands met, a wide-spread national movement of Black Student Unions and Black Studies majors was kicked off at college campuses nationwide.

At a time where Black self-awareness and self-respect is once again key, noting the role that the Nation’s Capital played in the gestation of a significant shift in both Black pride and Black Power is important.

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