When African-American Students Took Control: Remembering Ford & Sydeman Halls at Brandeis University in 1969.


On Jan. 8, 1969, approximately 70 African-American students took control of Ford and Sydeman Halls. The students quickly presented the administration with a list of 10 demands for better minority representation on campus. Although the administration did not come to an agreement on all 10 demands, the students left Ford and Sydeman halls on Jan. 18, 11 days after the occupation began. The administration did grant most of the students amnesty and President Morris Abram stated that every legitimate demand would be met in good faith

Justice the main student newspaper articles from 1968 through 1970 serve as the sources for this timeline. This is a basic outline of the events of the student occupation. If you would like to add details to this timeline please send an e-mail message to ascdepartment@brandeis.edu.

April 4, 1968 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is assassinated.

April 1968 In response to the assassination of Dr. King, the Brandeis Afro-American Society makes a proposal for how the university should respond. The proposal includes the active recruitment of more Back professors and students and the development of an Afro-American studies department.

April 1968 The administration establishes 10 Martin Luther King Scholarships.

September 1968 First Transitional Year Program (TYP) class meets under the direction of Professor Jacob Cohen.

October 6, 1968 Morris Abram is officially inaugurated as the second president of Brandeis University.

December 11, 1968 The faculty approve the African and Afro-American Studies Concentration.

December 18, 1968 A white first-year student allegedly shot a Black TYP student in the cheek with a BB gun. The administration would not expel the accused until after a formal trial. In the end, no student ever pressed charges.

Tuesday, January 7, 1969 A member of the San Francisco State University community, Brandeis students Lloyd Daniels '69 and Sidney Blumenthal '69, and Brandeis Assistant Professor of Sociology Neil Friedman give presentations discussing the student strike at San Francisco State and how it related to Brandeis.

Wednesday, January 8, 1969 Professor Neil Friedman announced that he was striking for one week in sympathy with San Francisco State and asked the University to suspend his salary for that time.

Wednesday, January 8, 1969 2:00 PM 60 to 75 students, members of the Brandeis Afro-American Society, take over Ford Hall. The takeover started in the switchboard room with 10 to 15 Black...

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