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Occupation of Ford Hall

Joshua Kahn Russell

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Out of stock

Student History is People's History

"A professor said, 'You know, you should not take this personally, the administration reneges on its promises to us faculty all the time.' One of the Black students, almost in disbelief, look at him and replied, 'Well, why do you take it?'"

In the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., a student called the Afro-American Organization at Brandeis University decided they were sick of getting treated like second class citizens at their own college. At 2:00pm on January 8, 1969, 65 African-American students armed themselves and occupied Ford Hall, officially inaugurating it Malcolm X University. Over 150 Black students from other colleges came to Ford Hall to demonstrate solidarity, white Brandeis students held sit-ins, demonstrations, hunger strikes, and printed newspapers in support of the occupation. After 11 days the occupation ended, and the students were granted full amnesty. Their actions resulted in one of the first academic departments of African and African-American Studies in the nation, the students other demands were soon realized as well, including increased recruitment of Black students, Martin Luther King, Jr. scholarships, and Black student control of hiring of certain administrators. The Ford Hall takeover coincided with occupations at universities around the country, including the University of California, Columbia, Cornell, San Francisco State, and Swarthmore. Even though Ford Hall was demolished in 2007, its memory inspires stiudents to this day.

2nd printing in November 2023, printed at the worker-owned and union-run Community Printers, Santa Cruz, CA.

This is #36 in the Celebrate People’s History Poster Series.

Joshua Kahn Russell is a social movement facilitator, organizer, and strategist who has trained thousands of activists across the globe. He is the executive director of the Wildfire Project.

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