“The Whole World Is Watching”: An Oral History of the 1968 Columbia Uprising


“At Columbia University in April 1968, about a thousand students forcibly commandeered five campus buildings, effectively igniting the mass student revolts of the 60s. The events that began haphazardly on April 23 soon grew into a public crescendo of awakening that changed the course of the American student protest movement. It was a year when political, racial, sexual, and cultural forces exploded into a ‘revolutionary volcano,’ as novelist Paul Auster, then a junior at Columbia, described it. It was also the year when two widespread movements—civil rights and anti-war—combined forces to stoke a flame of youth rebellion not seen domestically in half a century. That spring 50 years ago, Columbia’s compact, six-city-block campus on Manhattan’s bohemian Upper West Side became a petri dish, fermenting and fomenting discord that would engulf the nation. By the end of the year, American deaths in Vietnam exceeded 35,000 soldiers. Anti-war protests multiplied, the draft continued to loom like a Sword of Damocles over the lives of 27 million young men, the peaceful civil-rights movement intensified along with the increasingly militant Black Power movement, the sexual revolution and early feminism movement transformed gender roles, and the unstoppable popularity of psychedelic drugs and rock music (the musical Hair opened on Broadway that month) created an unbridgeable chasm of a generation gap. All of these movements for social change—including the conservative counterrevolutionaries—were out in full force on the Columbia campus that April. …”
Vanity Fair

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Black Power, Civil Rights Mov., Counterculture, Feminist, SDS, Vietnam War and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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