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Why Are You Protesting?
  • "Black Organization of Students Official Statement." @March 7, 1969.
  • William S. Mathews Jr., Untitled Poem. Rutgers University Transitional Year Program magazine. August, 1969.
  • Photograph of Randy Green and activists at Student Convocation. February 28, 1969.
By early 1969, activism by African- American students at Rutgers University and across the country, was demonstrating an awareness of widespread inequality between whites and minority groups. For students at Rutgers, the glaring institutional inequalities were blatant. African- Americans represented a meager 2.7% of the student population among the four Rutgers campuses (Rutgers College, Douglass College for Women, Newark, and Camden). Student organizations such as the BOS had additional concerns such as a lack of departmental course offerings in African Studies; almost no black staff, faculty, or administrators; and a lack of affiliation with the surrounding urban communities. Many of these "disadvantaged" students arrived to campus unprepared for the rigors of academic life at the university and needed summer training to assist them.
The documents that follow express some of the frustration, alienation, disillusionment, and anger felt by African-American students at Rutgers. The first document, "The BOS Official Statement," is reflective of this disillusionment and anger. The second document, an Untitled Poem, written by William Mathews Jr., a student in the new Transitional Year Program, places the civil rights movement in a global and historical perspective. Lastly, the photograph from the Student Convocation showing Professor Warren Susman, student Randy Green and other student activists expresses black student unity.
Links to Documents and Photograph
  • "Black Organization of Students Official Statement." @March 7, 1969. View now or open the PDF version (0.4MB)
  • William S. Mathews Jr., Untitled Poem. Rutgers University Transitional Year Program magazine. August, 1969. View now or open the PDF version (0.2MB)
  • Photograph of Randy Green and activists at Student Convocation. February 28, 1969. View now

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Activity
As protesting can take many forms, choose how you would like to express yourself if you were to protest a current injustice you feel strongly about. This can be a reaction to a political decision, or recognition of some economic or social disparity either on a local level, national level, or in a global context. The product you create can be in the form of a poem, song, poster, or some other creative product approved by the teacher.
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