Say Brother; Black Power on University Campuses; 24
The Black people's problem is no longer hungry bodies, but hungry minds. [Intro music] [Intro music "cuz black is beautiful you know, Say Brother!"] [Intro music "Black power's what we're talking 'bout, Say Brother! Say Brother!"] [Intro music "cuz freedom's beautiful"] [Intro music "Say Brother!, Say Brother!"]
[Intro music] [Intro music] Jim Sproul: Power to the people. I'm Jim's Sproul. In the early 60s, integrated education was thought to be the key to good education for Black Americans. In recent years, it has become apparent that the quality not the color of the educational environment is the significant factor and the quality and effectiveness of any educational instit- system must be determined by the relevance of that system to the students it's meant to serve. The need to make educational programs meaningful to Black people has become our major concern. The Black student in the White world of the university campus is offered little and will contribute to the realization of themself as a total person. The omission of Black curriculum and Black faculty and of more than a minimum- minimum of fellow Black students allows White students to continue
their ignorance of Black America and deprives Black students of the cultural development which is considered an integral part of the education in the university. At university campuses throughout the country, this deprivation leads to tensions, frustrations, and ultimately the conflict. Some actual headlines that have appeared in newspapers recently: At Northern Michigan University 150 Black students clenched their fists during the National Anthem, seeking classes on Afro-American culture and more Black teachers. At Washington University students sat-in seeking more Black studies. At Wisconsin State, students were suspended after demonstrations demanding Black history and Black faculty. At Kansas State, there was five hundred thousand dollars in damage caused by fires. At San Francisco State, after more than 13 months of sit-in demonstrations, shutdowns, administrative hassles, student and teacher strikes, arrests, rallies,
verbal and physical attacks from the state's governor down to fellow students, turmoil continues. Representatives of students and teachers from San Francisco State visited Brandeis, January 8, 1969. Brandeis University Afro-American students seized Ford Hall. [Muffled speaker]: I am on strike because San Francisco State College is the bellwether of American education today. I am on strike because San Francisco State is a test of whether unions, collective bargaining, Black studies [tape sound] higher education will prevail. [Announcer]: Meanwhile at San Francisco State College, one thousand students tried to block off their campus but police clubbed a cooridor through the picket line.. [inaudible] Two more were injured. [outside sound]
[walking sound] [Speaker]: On January 8th, 1969 at 2:30 p.m., acting out of sympathy with students from San Francisco State College and with their younger brother and sister students from the King and Timilty schools in Roxbury. Members of the Afro-American organization at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts took over an administration building, Ford Hall. [Student]: Demands are non-negotiable and must be answered in black and white with the appropriate signatures. The demands are as followed: One, Applicant started the pardon with the power through high and five (?). This means that the committee must have an independent budget of it's own. Two,
year-round recruitment of Black students by Black students and headed by a Black director. The number of student and the TYP people where I am(?) should be double next year and the administration should support and actively campaign for necessary funds. Three, there must be Black directors for the Upward Bound and TYP people programs(?). Four, immediate action on the part of the administration to have Black professors in the various departments. (Five) Establishment of an Afro-Amer- American center designed by Black students. Six, written clarification or position of the TYP students within the university structure and [inaudible] in the areas of financial aid a mission to Brandeis criteria for satisfactory of word. Expulsion of the White student who shot a Black student before the Christmas holidays. The brochure must be accepted in the present form or only with changes accepted by
Black students. The brochure must be published immediately. And just about the recruitment of African students and the [inaudible] program, and they would like to see the recruitment of Black students who are in economic needs rather than say students totally from members of the aristocracy in Africa and South America. Ten, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X full-scholarship for on and off- campus Black students. This should include transportation from the TYP program on up to graduation from university. And may I add also that there have been harrasment by officials and other dining hall officials at the University and that also [inaudible]. Ricardo will now lead, [inaudible] give a short history of the harrasment and changes that we've had to go through here. [Ricardo]: Well, the- the statement we prepared is as follows: We, the Black students of
Brandeis University, declare our unanimous support of the efforts of liberation waged by brothers at San Francisco State College and the cabinet of the King, Timilty schools. The racist reaction of the just demands of our Black brothers is not unique to that college or to the school board, school committee of Boston, but has manifested itself throughout the academic institutions in the United States and especially here at Brandeis University. Our efforts to confront the administration with demands that both experts like Sachar and the president, President Abram, deem justifiable in quotes, "principle" has proven only to be a subterfuge of white supremacy. We shall continue our efforts to promote the rights of Black students and all Black people to earn respect of our manhood in all quarters of this racist society. Now Lloyd, you want to..
[Lloyd]: We applied for and got a budget from the student council which handles all student funds on campus. We worked with that budget, brought out some other Black people round the country, those that come might go [inaudible]. Then, in April, Dr. King was murdered, and on Sunday, following his murder, the White students on campus wanted to get together have a a guilt-session or something I suppose. So, we decided to try to organize them around some demands and we spent I suppose, most of the night talking to them and then we went and presented 14 demands to the administration the following day which was Monday, April, 8th. We split
the demands up at that time into immediate demands and ones which were long-range. The immediate demands at that time were, an African Studies Department headed by a Black man, recruitment of Black students by Black students and directed by a Black man. Employment of Black people at all levels of the University. Ten-Martin- Five- Martin Luther King Jr. scholarships, full-scholarships. The long range demands were a - 10 percent of the student body Black by 1971, Afro-American Studies Concentration again headed by a Black man, a graduate scholarship in- a graduate scholarship for Black people who wanted to go to grad school and were willing to teach in the Black community for the first five years after they got out of grad school. [Another student]: Well, we told them that we'll find you black students, give us $2 an hour hire five or six of us and we'll go out and find you the black students. We had a response of over
3,000 people who were interested in Brandeis and we tripled our enrollment of Black students on campuses as Lloyd said. One of the demands now is to further intensify this because there's now this big backlog of Black students that we have to get in contact with and yet the university is dragging their heels on these points because they don't particularly care to look over this big Black backlog it seems. [Randy]: OK. I- I- I- take it now, we can, you know, kind of throw the thing out to the group and the things that you have to say. [Female student]: You know, saying, "Well, we want more Black students , you can make them into more middle-class white- I mean it's an African Studies thing- it's just one part of a whole university. You know, there, this is, well it wouldn't really make that much of a difference. You know everything else is so white-oriented. [Another female student]: The whole problem with the Black community is that there hasn't, there hasn't been
a group of people with skills you know, so-called middle class skills or whatever you want to call it who have been oriented to helping the masses of the people. They have been oriented to becoming white people. But, it seems to me that on all, you know, I think that there has, there's a fight that has to be fought on all fronts, and like the White university, this is not I mean, we- what we accomplish will make a difference and I'm sure that if we- when we get what we want here and San Francisco State, it will encourage schools, Black students at schools, both Black and White to you know work for change just because the Black universities function on the same values and standards as the White universities do. And that's why Mr. Black, just having a black administration in itself isn't the answer. You have to have, as the man Bill Middleton who spoke to us today from San Francisco State said, you have to have a Black as opposed to a negro
university and I think the African-American Studies Department controlled as we conceive of it to be controlled by Black people will be operated in the interests of Black people will be teaching, learning things that will instill the proper values and attitudes that we need to have and you know I think that that is a substantial step and I think it will make all the difference in the world or be the basis of making all the difference in the world for change, you know what I mean? [shouting] [inaudible shouting] [inaudible] [Brandeis University President Abram enters the room] I understand that you wanted the Dean of the Faculty to bring me over. [inaudible] [inaudible, person saying 'Let him talk']
I don't care, but the Dean's office [inaudible] Let him go through. [inaudible] [tape jog noise] Through the faculty. [President Abram]:You wanted me to come and I am always delighted to talk to you, I don't know of any occasion in which I have refused to do so. So, I'm delighted to be here. That the faculty this afternoon, met and passed resolutions. [Inaudible] were the resolutions with the faculty... and the point, I think, of the resolution is, the faculty is representing a very central part of the community do not think there should be negotiations in the univeristy
under threats of authority. The dialogue should be free and open as amongst reasonable people and persisted(?) in the common good. Now, is there anything else to be said. [Roy]: Mr. President, do you understand the demands, if not we could.. [President]: I understand them, I've read them, I assume these demands would never present to be ever, except... I don't think this is a perfect institution not by a long shot. There are many things around here that can be improved. And I would like to imrpove them, and I would like your counsel and suggestions. So, I'm here, gladly to listen to you. When you leave the building, I'll be delighted... [Announcer]: Although the Brandeis Afro-American group has stated ten demands containing thirty-two components, the one basic issue is not dissimilar to that in public school situations:
What is the decision making role of students. The Brandeis student group demands that an Afro-American Studies Department be established and that they select the chairman. Faculty members throughout the country shudder at the kind of precedent that would be set by permitting students to select the chairman of a university department. As a university administrator Brandeis President Morris B. Abram does not himself have the privilege of making faculty selections. Traditionally, faculty members choose new colleagues from among their peers. Impasse. The faculty won't give in. The administration lacks authority to give in and the Afro-American students cannot give in. Meanwhile, with each additional 24 hours of their occupation of Ford Hall, Brandeis functions better and better without the building thus weakening the students' advantage. [Student]: I don't think that they're coming this way, mainly I think they're coming probably the other way which I hope they do because I don't want to meet "the man" as we always go around saying. [Interviewer]: Are you afraid of the circumstances, or scared?
[Student]: I'm afraid I admit that. But at least if I get attacked, if I survive, I'll come back. If "the man" gonna meet me, gonna hit me, I hope he kill me, that's my belief. [Interviewer]: Why? Why would you rather have him kill you or hurt you? [Student]: Cuz I think I have enough scars on my body, prove that I'm tired of this nonsense, of this crap that I've been taken for. [Student]: Since I've been at Brandeis, I, you know, I've seen Whites students [inaudible] towards Black students, you know, they write notes on your door, you know, several students found notes on their door and say n**** and other kind of things and stuff like this. White students call me "boy" [Student]: I think that most of the kids here who are young and have accepted a position and they are willing to struggle with the position,
I think when you're young, you often you know, deal with the ideal and sometimes that is good and sometimes it pushes an issue and the issue in this particular instance is racism. It has to be dealt with, with a kind of third-world view. And, if you can't deal with it like that, then you are always going to get caught up in the man's negotiation process, which is you know, really a subterfuge for white supremacy. [White student]: I know, then the White students feel that they're being racist because what are we doing we're just standing here, they can't accept the idea that they're actually irrelevant to the whole thing and so therefore they got to get indignant and they have they're already [inaduble]. That's all it is. [White man smoking cigarette]: If Blacks in this school, just like white students are in a position of powerlessness and the only power that they right- that they have at the moment is the fact that their inside Ford Hall. And that power is gone as soon as they leave that building.
And that's that's the first the first criteria that that the president of the university has put upon negotiations. Seems absolutely absurd. I mean that's what I call negotiations. [President Abram]: My door has and always will remain open to any member of the Brandeis community, faculty, students, or administration who have grievances to present. They represent the firm policy and practice of this administration. I met with the dissident students in Ford Hall and asked them to vacate the building so that we could begin the negotiations of grievances under conditions befitting members of a university community. [Student]: The major thing here is I think there are some demands made to the university, not once but, twice and these demands, I don't know, you know, you know about these demands. In any event, you know
there were not, the demands were not implemented and those that were implemented, as I said in my statement, you know, were just prove to be a sort of substitution of white supremacy. It's not an easy thing for a Black kid on a scholarship at Brandeis University to say, "To hell with, you know, my future in this academic world." Either I can have it so it would be relative to me or I'm not going to have it at all. It's quite a hell of a decision. And you have so many Black kids make this decision, I think it's you know a tremendous demonstration that, that their together, that a new breed of Black man is being born and that America better wakes up, wake up to this fact. [music]
[Sproul]: It is doubtful if Brandeis or any other major college institution understands the nature and the needs of their Afro-American students. Efforts toward this understanding must be demonstrated by action and implemented by changes. To discuss the significance of the actions by Brandeis Afro-American students, and to help bring about a relevant educational atmosphere, Say Brother has invited a group of individuals each particularly qualified to speak on the issue. Their discussion will be modified by Henry Hampton. [Hampton]: "Moderator," Jim, I hope not "modified." [Sproul]: Modified moderator. [Hampton]: Good evening and welcome to Say Brother. It's been eight days now since Black students at Brandeis University first took over Ford Hall and the confrontation still continues. Tonight we have several guests from the Boston's Black University Community to discuss with us the issues, the involvements, and perhaps to offer some prophecies on the future surrounding the situation at Brandeis. To my extreme right is Miss Doris Francis who is a student of journalism at
Boston University and a native of New York. My immediate right is Mr. Ricardo Millette who was one of the students from Brandeis. He is a undergraduate, he is a graduate, pardon me, but he was also a graduate of the undergraduate school or something. He is presently a graduate student in the field of social welfare and community organization to my immediate left is also another student from Brandeis who came here from Ford Hall to discuss the issues with us this evening. And this is Randy Bailey who is a major in sociology. To his left is Ms. Mrs. Bernice Miller of Jackson College. She's an associate dean at the college and to her left is Skip Rifan who was a student at Harvard University, is chairman of the Afro-American group at Harvard. Before we began our discussion I'd like to read a statement from Dr. Lawrence Fuchs who is a professor of American civilization at Brandeis. Dr.
Fuchs was scheduled to appear on this program. Quote "upon his arrival at the studio he decided it would be more appropriate not to have a white professor on a program devoted mainly to a discussion of Black feelings and opinions on the concerns of Black students at various universities in the Boston area. I think we thank Dr. Fuchs for his understanding. To begin with, it's been eight days now and Ricardo what is going on at Brendeis at this present moment? [Ricardo]: What is going on at Brandeis I think is a sort of a microscopic experience of what will be going on in the United States. We have a set of, a group of Black students who have determined to make this community, that is Brandeis community and the educational experience that it has to offer relevant to them. And they have decided,
we have decided to make this experience relevant to us by demanding certain conditions, minimal conditions, which would make it better than us. [Hampton]: Randy, do you think the danger of a violent confrontation has passed now that it's settled down to a, at this point, 8-day process? [Randy]:The position of the students in Ford Hall is not one of violence. We are there demanding our rights as students of a university, as Black students demanding the right to get relevant education and we have not threatened violence. We are sitting- we are in this building to get our demands. We have not stated that we are going to have violence. We have been threatened with violence but we are not you know stating that we are going to bring violence. [Hampton]: Do you think the situation will resolve itself peaceful- peacefully then. [Randy]: I hope so.
Be- [Ms. Miller]: When you- when we say will it- will it resolve itself peacefully, what would you consider a resolving of the situation? [Randy]: Finally getting recognition that Black people in a university are going to have education relevant to themselves. This is all we are stating. This is an issue of Black people having relevant education; this is not an issue of student power as was clearly demonstrated in the film. [Ms. Miller]: And you've said this [Randy]: yes [Ms. Miller]: because I've been listening to the broadcast..When at the very beginning of the film we heard a young man say our demands are non-negotiable, had this as this at any point been spelled out as to exactly what you mean that we are here to stay until our demands are granted which is what non-negotiable means it can't be cut down- we are not- there is not going to be any attrition. That's it. Has this been said? [Randy]: Yes. [Ms. Miller]: I mean specifically out of the category of non-negotiable [Randy]: Yes. Yes. In a communication to President Abram we stated why, we stated that the demands are minimal.
The university has already agreed in general principles. They have agreed that they support these demands. They have agreed to them since April 8th, 1968, immediately after Dr. King's murder when we presented them. Now what we are stating is we want the implementation because we have been negotiating since April 8th, at that time and we are saying that we have not had this situation resolved. [Hampton]: Ricardo would you like to speak? [Ricardo]: Well I guess, you- you- you said it. [Hampton]: And let me ask you a question, you're a black administrator in a predominantly white college, Jackson College is part of Tufts University and it could very easily, it's conceivable that you might get caught between this kind of response on the part of Black students and the administration. How do you- what are your feelings about what's occurring at Brandeis right now? [Bernice]: Well of course immediately we fe- we're hoping that we will be able to respond to the needs of our students so that we don't get caught. you know that's a heck of a bind to be caught in. And there's a tightrope
walker, you know, who walks that line. [Hampton]: How do you, how do you walk that tightrope? [Ms. Miller]: I don't know how one does it to do it one day at a time it's like being an alcoholic, you know, you just walk it and hope you don't fall off and you hope you do it satisfactorily. But, I have a feeling that has something to do with a third ear. You, you sort of feel what, well I feel it because I'm Black. [small laugh] I kind of feel what's wanted there. That probably is one of the problems of the Brandeis kids, there's nobody who's Black who's high enough up in the administration to communicate across the lines without going through all the channels you know likes you say well I know how they feel and I do know how they feel and I know because I'm one of them. It isn't they, it's only they and I because they're students and I'm not. That's the only difference. [Hampton]: Let's focus right there for a minute, I think this is important. And Ricardo, as a Black student at a predominantly White, predominately is not really adequate to express what some universities are, but in a predominantly White institution where do you go as a Black
student to talk to someone who can offer an understanding ear about your problems, and there are specific problems as a Black student in that circumstance, who do you go to at Brandeis? [Ricardo]: Well, this is a funny question for me because I've been at Brandeis for five years. And the first year I was at Brandeis, 1964, there wasn't many people you could go to because there wasn't many Black people around. But at the present time, who do you go to? You go, of course, to your Black brothers and sisters, students, and I must add, this year, because of increased enrollment and because of the demand for the Blacks, by the Black students that we needed a black advisor, Mr. Nathan Johnson(?), our Black advisor, has performed this role very adequately. He is a very Black
person, and he is a person who understand the needs of Black students and who has been trying to communicate this need to the administration. [Hampton]: What's his role in the university itself? [Ricardo]: Well right now he's been given many titles. The black students prefer to think of him think of him as our black advisor. The administration prefers to think of him as the, the Assistant Dean of Students. But, in realistic terms, he is indeed the Black advisor to Black students. Other than this, there is the Afro- American Society. This is where most of the Black kids go. We hash out our problems. We have seminars each week in Black Ideology, Black Thought, Black Feeling. We ironed out our own problems. We've tried to bring Soul Food to the campus. Have our Soul parties. And, just being
a minority, a minority at Brandeis, as you said, a predominantly White university, the necessity of feeling Black is more overwhelming than it would be if you were an all Black college. [Hampton]: Another predominantly white institution is Harvard. Skip Griffin, Harvard seems to have avoided the kind of confrontation that Brandeis is undergoing. What are some of the factors in, in, that avoidance? [Griffin]: Well, I think each university is different in its response to Black students. Harvard has not taken a rigid stance like Brandeis or some of the other schools to this point been somewhat understanding. However you know the whole process of negotiations seems to be slowing down and we still haven't had a Black curriculum developed. I think the main reason why there hasn't been any conflict at Harvard is precisely
because they are trying or they seem on the surface to understand the problem and are trying to move towards some solution. [Hampton]: Do you have some plan by which you can determine if them, if they're moving fast enough or if they're moving in directions which are actually required in other words you know at what point do you say things are not happening quickly enough or happening to our satisfaction? [Griffin]: Well that point comes February the 11th when the faculty decides whether or not they're going to approve the CEP's recommendation to establish a Black studies department and to hire Black professors to head up this department and to establish a Afro-American center as a place for you know where Black people can go and socialize and discuss ideas about what they want to do in the future. To this point Harvard has a process through to which you go through to make any innovations in the school and the CEP is the first major step and they have approved the
program. [Hampton]: CEP is? [Griffin]: Committee on Educational Policies. [Hampton]: Is there an executive job involved there? Will there be one single person for instance, are you demanding they should be allowed to choose... [Griffin]: Well we're demanding that there be two people to head up a Black studies department and that they'd be selected by a committee of students and faculty members. You know we would like to think, we'd like Brandeis feel that it is necessary essential that we you know prove the person who is selected to head up this department. [Hampton]: Doris, you go to another university which seems to have been part of [inaudible] trouble. Boston University was the scene of a black take over, I believe it was the Administration Building. [Doris]: Yeah, it was the president's office. [Hampton]: The president's office. And yet that was successfully resolved without a violent confrontation. [Doris]: Well I think, I think the major difference between BU and Harvard or BU and Brandeis is that there are different
personalities involved and we happen to have a president who was chosen because he's very good looking man and he's a perfect PR man. And he never comes off looking badly in the press and he went, went, you know it became known that the building was taken over he held an immediate press conference and he immediately worked to see that things would be done and as a result we have these things that people at Brandeis and people at Harvard are asking for. We have a center. We have, you know, increased, you know, enrollment of students and they've made room in the dormitories for Roxbury students to come and live you know which is something that they didn't do if you, if you live near enough school to commute they usually wouldn't give you a dormitory room but they have made efforts to see that Black students from you know the surrounding Boston area where you know could live on campus. [Hampton]: Were the university students in Boston, at Boston University able to choose the
person who heads up programs mainly concerning Blacks? [Doris]: Well as a matter of fact the man who heads the Center, John Cartright, I understand that there is there is there is a lot of dissatisfaction with him. People like to toss around words like Uncle Tom and they call him an Uncle Tom. I know the man personally he was he was in my school, a professor in my school, a public relations professor. BU's divided into schools and in my particular school, school, he was a professor and he did me a very great favor once because I was a Black student and I feel that the man is trying. The kids main gripe with him is that he, he is you know part of the administration he tries to work with the administration for the kids and you know everyone is you know in their sort of bomb throwing bag these days. And so there's a lot of dissatisfaction with him they want to depose him but they haven't got a real case.
[Hampton]: Randy, I've been listening to radio talk shows this past week and you've managed to become the starring topic of conversation, but you know, seriously you are risking quite a bit. You're asking an educational future you're risking conceivably bodily harm. What series of incidents took place to bring you to the point where you were willing to risk you know a future and good health to achieve a certain goal? [Randy]: Well as I stated on April 8th, 1968, right after Martin Luther King's murder we presented a series of demands to the university which was spoken to in the film. And one of those demands was the setting up of an Afro-American Affairs Advisory Council which will be made up of five administrators, five faculty, and 10 students, seven Black and three White, which were going to make sure that these demands would
be implemented. Now, in, July, President Abram, before he became president of university became a member ex-officio of this committee so that he would know what he was getting himself into when he became president of Brandeis, and then he chaired this committee since his inauguration. Since September he's been chairman of this committee. And this committee has been trying to get these demands implemented. Now the demands that we have presented are the same demands that we presented in April, but except for number seven because number seven happened right before Christmas and not at that time, and we have been negotiating and negotiating these demands through this advisory council. And what is, what has happened is we have not gotten what we wanted. We asked for an
Afro-American and African Studies Department, what we got was a concentration, in fact. And now what we are stating is what we have to have are these things which have been negotiated all this time. [Hampton]: I'm trying to reach for that personal decision making level. One of the young men- [Ricardo]: You see, one has to take into consideration the whole history of Black people in this country. It's not only the president's situation at Brandeis, it's what that situation and the confrontation symbolizes. It symbolizes a, a demand by Black people to gain power in an environment that influence their lives. Now a lot of these men and women, I should call them, and not kids, because they have made this decision, come to realize that their father before them, their great grandfather before them, been living in a country
which have not allowed them the right to be men, which have not allow them the right to assume that decision making processes which influence their lives, and these men and women in Ford Hall, are demanding the right to be that man and woman, and they are willing to die, I mean, die for this right. It's a simple matter of power. It's the whole way you achieve victory. We have to achieve victory the way we want it. We do not want it handed down to us like, well this is a piece of pie I'm going to give you because you behave a good boy, and this has been the sort of the general way in which victory has always been given to the Black man. And we are not taking that anymore. We want victory the way we've outlined it. We want a piece of that
power. Either you want to give it to us or you're not. We hope that this, this seed, this temperament will be won which would be planted at Brandeis and grow and blossom throughout the United States. That's why I stated earlier in the program that was happening at Brandeis is a microscopic example or model of what will eventually happen in this society. [Doris]: Ricardo, look and you have, Colombia for instance which is you know one of the first you know takeover type situations. Places like Colombia and this recent takeover at Harvard, young White students sitting in on the faculty meeting and the, you know, the results that Harvard they were, they were, they were on, they were put on probation I think they were suspended at Columbia and nothing has happened at Columbia in spite of all the blood, all the pictures. How is a decision reached to take over a building? What, what makes you believe in the efficacy of
taking over the building in view of the fact that people who've taken over buildings have only failed, you know with administrations and with schools? [Ricardo]: Well, you're asking me what was the rational plan behind taking over Ford Hall other than like any other place? [Doris]: Yeah, that over, taking over Ford Hall rather than any other kind of demonstration why, why that sort of a demonstration in particular? [Ricardo]: First of all, Ford Hall houses the communication, the switchboard for the university. It houses some valuable equipment. Plus the fact it houses the one little room, where Mr. Johnson, I said before, the Black advisor, has his office in this one room or center. Ironically, that Black people have come together to hold their meetings and to speak with Mr. Johnson and so forth. And ironically this building
we happened to be in the moment we made the decision. So things just happened like that. [Hampton]: I'm gonna challenge one thing you said Doris, you said that there have been failures but for example in San Francisco State I think by no stretch of the imagination is that a failure particularly because any time you make you force the people in the state to confront the trustees of that university and their rigidity people like Rafferty and Ronald Reagan and actually begin to create significant changes in the university structure or at least pose the question of change... [Doris]: But- [Hampton]: It's not a failure. [Doris]: But a state, a state college I think would be different than a private college. Do you see what I mean? People wouldn't be paying taxes and people would probably have a lot less at stake- the public- something like Columbia, highly private university, something like Harvard. You know, say Harvard is one of the most powerful businesses in the country. [Hampton]: Yeah, I doubt that [inaudible] past president of Columbia would agree that their students have failed. [Doris]: No, well, when Mark Rudd was here he said that they had achieved nothing,
saying that all they got was that the dean's office doors were open and that he said that in spite of the fact that you know there was all this fighting and everything that he said that, it had done nothing, the demonstration to change Columbia. [Randy]: The fact is that this is not another Columbia. What are we, and what we are in fact stating is that there are not Black faculty people at Brandeis. There is a visiting lecturer. But there is not, there are not permanent Black faculty people at Brandeis at present. What we are stating is that the Black people at Brandeis now consist of the students and this is not a part you know just student power, it happens that we are students, but the essence is that Black people have to control their destinies within the White institutions of this country, to make it relevant to us and we are not stating- approaching this you know [inaudible] level of student power like Columbia, this is an issue of are Black people going to control our
destinies in the institution at Brandeis? The case is that the only Black faculty member that there is at the moment is a visiting lecturer. And so the thing is that we dont have the- this is not the same thing as Columbia. This is not just student power. This is the whole issue of are Black people finally going to be able to control them? We are not stating that we want the student power of Columbia. We are stating you know, do we have, do Black people have the right? We are putting this at issue. But we say Black people have the right to control what is their destiny within the institution. At Brandeis, it happens to be that the students are the people. [Doris]: Yeah, well don't you think, Don't you think that student power is involved if students are going to choose a faculty head? Isn't this, isn't this, isn't this a big issue, the big issue that Abrams is against? [Ricardo]: No, I don't know, I think there's a danger of interpreting moves made by Black
students as student problems per se, because I'd like to think that Black students are an extension of the Black community and that the struggle on universities is just an extension of the struggle of Black people. And I think the rationale behind taking over a building comes out of the understanding of the relationship between the powers that be and Black people. I think Black students today understand that we are powerless people and that these universities are power groups and we understand that power never concedes anything without a struggle whether it's a moral struggle or a physical struggle [other voice]: and this is exactly what we... [Ricardo continues]: and this is what we have to deal with. The other thing is that taking over a building represents a new form of protest a non-acceptable form of protest. And this whole matter is hooked up in, in gaining one's freedom. If one protests by the rules which have been set down by the power structure, one is really not becoming free from the man, he's still under the man's grips you know. [Hampton]: Yeah, well let's follow
that. Bernice, you know, you are a person who's got one foot in the academic community and the other very distinctly in the Black community, you know, where? Where are we going from that perspective? [Bernice]: Well I was going to say one thing that I think we ought to clear that up very carefully. I would think that if we sat here and talked very much about the- we can talk about the tactics because we've seen those, you know, taking over the building but I'm sure the tactics are part of a hu- you know of a strategy that was very well planned and if it is, if this is true and the- we do think of the Black campus as a faction or a part or an arm of the Black community certainly we are going to go into a large conversation about strategies on the air. I hope not. I'm certainly not going to be a part of that so that would you know that would take care of that. I think it is really very true that large power groups do view power in a mercantile sort of
way, like a discrete item, and if we give you some of it we have less for ourselves. I think there's another way to look at power. It can be, it can be shared. I think this is what we're talking about in the community that when we govern, we wish to govern in a group of students, parents, and community leaders. This is the organizing principle behind the King cabinet. I think if I'm reading you, this is what you're saying. I don't think that we're really saying what it- we- its been interpreted to us as I don't think- I think it's exactly what you say it is that if you take one if you take it out of one- one group's hands and give it to the other group then you have the same kind of situation accruing. What you're saying is that you want a group of people, of your choosing with representatives from each segment in the university to sit down with each having an equal vote to choose the persons that are going to do this thing that you want done. Is that what you're saying?
[Randy]: What we have(n't?) sent to the administration the forum the whole question here is the selection board- who is going to select the director for the African-Afro-American Studies [Bernice]: That's what I thought was? [Randy continues]: Department? Now the proposal that we sent in a while ago was that the Blacks, three Black students of Brandeis would be on this committee and three Black academicians which we would choose and the Dean of Faculty from Brandeis who was White. We would accept this person on the committee. That this would be the committee. Reverend Virgil Wood said this very eloquently yesterday in the Martin Luther King birthday service which I attended which I spoke and he stated the issue very clearly: that this is the area of Black culture. I think that all of us here agree that when it comes to Black culture, which is in essence the Afro-American African Studies Department that Black people know what Black culture is. I'm sure we have had you know courses where
we see that when Black, when the students, are the only Black students are the only Black people in the room becomes a process of White people picking our brains to find out what is it like to be Black. Now, we already know what it's like to be Black and that is not the issue of the African-Afro-American Studies Department we already know what it's like to be Black. And for us to sit there and to answer to White students, you know, this is what it's like to be Black; we aren't getting anything out of the course. And what we want is Black people there controlling this and we are stating that it's not the selection that's going to control the department. The selection would want us to make sure that we get the right director. We want to state, once we have examined every possible person that we can come up with that we have chosen the person that epitomizes what we want at Brandeis, what we are as Black people, and I would assume Black people all over the country would assume that you know this is what we call you know the person who is going to lead the way in this department. And then that person is free. The selection committee is dissolved. That person starts through the university
procedures in directing that program. Now we have stated you know we want a department with the right to hire and fire which clearly states that we don't want, the selection committee does not want to control that department. We want to make sure that it gets offs, is set off right by a Black person which we have full confidence in. Which then the selection committee goes goes into, is no longer in effect. And we are sure that this person, the director, or the chairman of this department is the one who is involved in the hiring and firing. The selection committee clearly stated in that demand is not that the selection committee control the department but that the department chairman controls that department. And I think this is the issue right here raised by this. Our Black people who know exactly you know what it's like to be Black going to sit in Black courses to have White people ask us what it's like to be Black? Or, our Black people going to be running this program and letting, working within the framework of we already know what it's like to be Black which the White students will get out of this, plus the added dimension of
Black people demonstrating what Black art is. This is the whole issue of the program. This is essential if any Black Studies as we call it, Afro-American African Studies Department is going to be of any relevance to Black people and to White people. Now it's just relevant to White people they're asking us what it's like to be Black. We're telling them, we aren't getting anything out of it. And this is the situation that we've been at. [Hampton]: Let me ask if we can clear one other thing here. There's been a lot of confusion about the number of demands, there's ten the president said something about 32. What, what is the facts around that. [Ricardo]: I think Randy can address himself to that question more explicitly than I can. [Randy]: As I stated, these demands had already been negotiated. They already knew what these demands were. And, we've presented them as shorthand form. Now, stating just you know, what we, you know what the demand was. The administration said we don't exactly understand what you want to say. So we wrote out - point - under each demand, point by point you know what this demand means and that now they've added this up on state this as 32 demands. Now an issue right here
is the fact that we have stated that the brochure be sent out. The brochure called "The Black Students of Brandeis" be sent out immediately. We have been writing this brochure and the administration has been editing it. You know we started it on June 9, 1968. Now, we foun- now the answer of the administration, the fact that the brochure has already been sent, was sent to the publisher. Now what we stated in a point of clarification is that the brochure go out immediately and any future thing that which the administration asked The Afro-American organization to do on behalf of Black people be done by Black people. Now we want a recruiting program which administration says are gonna give us. Now we need a film for recruiting. This is going to be a vital issue. Are Black people are going to be able to write to make all the film do the editing or is the administration who is mainly White going to tell us what is relevant to other Black people? This is the only issue here. The administration has not addressed himself, itself to this particular issue. And this is why we are still in the building. They have not addressed themselves this issue. They have not said yes. They have not said no. We're waiting for that
answer. Yes I know. [Hampton]: Let me ask you another question here. Do you think that what's been occurring in Ford Hall has been fairly and accurately reported in the White press in the city of Boston? [Ricardo]: I don't think you can fight a Black revolution with the help of a White press. Lately, in the last couple of days, the press has been attempting to be a bit more objective about it. You know like newspapers, we tried to allow only Black reporters in. They most probably tried to report objectively what was going on in the building. And, of course they had to send it to the home office and they home office just want to take the most controversial aspect of it for editorial papers; they had to sell their papers. And they're also White. [Hampton]: Do you think it's been basically in the last couple of days reasonable? [Ricardo]: Ah, not totally. It has improved in the last couple, the last couple of days.
What- What I think has sort of counteracted the sort of false equivocations of the press is that we've gotten this Black bulletin out, which has been written inside of the building by the students inside the building and this has been the most objective report or press release you can say we've had. [Hampton]: Has the university made any offers for their use of their public relations department or help of that kind? [Ricardo]: No, (laughs) the university have not. [Hampton]: I knew the answer before I asked. Craig, quickly, can we just get a round robin opinion here. Is this kind of seizure and confrontation process going to continue? Skip? [Skip]: Well, he just touched upon a point that I'd like to extend on a little bit. I think confrontations will continue but only if the process of negotiation fails. See, what most people don't realize is that
confrontation or seizures are not the first step. These people have gone through a process of negotiation,the people of San Francisco State went through a process of negotiation. We at Harvard have gone through a process of negotiation. [Hampton]: But you'd think it's going to continue in that form? [Skip]: Well, if the negotiations are not fruitful then you have to resort to other forms of protest because you know I mean the demands are essential to the survival and development of our people. [Hampton]: We only have a little time left but [Bernice]: Wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to go college by college you know. As I say about the Black community, school by school, or neighborhood by neighborhood, and we wouldn't have to go this long route and finally end up with a frontal kind of thing. But I have no feeling that we won't have to go that route. And I, that I believe what you say that it is true that we're going to have to bring it out in the open after it's all been negotiated out and then it comes to what will you settle for- that's really what- the last stage of the negotiation
means. Will you settle for this? [Hampton]: We both hope very much the same. I'm sorry we're out of time I found it enlightening and interesting experience. I'd like to thank all of you for having joined us tonight and we're especially Randy and Ricardo, best of luck. I'm sure you were going to make it if not in this particular instance and we will all make it within days. Black power on the university campus, slightly altered, but equally effective. Say Brother thanks you for joining us and we'll see you again next week. Good evening. [Say Brother outro music]
- Say Brother
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- WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
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- Episode Description
- Program examines the student takeover of Ford Hall at Brandeis University, an administration building Brandeis students occupied during the filming of the program. The first portion of the program features black and white footage of the takeover, including an enumeration of student demands and a statement to the press by university President Morris Abram. The second half of the program consists of a panel discussion of Black Power on university campuses. Discussion panel is moderated by Henry Hampton (Founder, Black Side, Inc.) and features Brandeis students Randy Bailey and Ricardo Millette, Boston University student Doris Francis, Harvard University student Skip Griffin, and Associate Dean of Jackson College Bernice J. Miller (the show incorrectly gives her name as Beatrice Miller).
- Social Issues
- Public Affairs
- Brandeis University; African Americans Education; Education Political aspects; race relations; Universities and colleges Administration; Civil Rights; Student protesters
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- Moving Image
Publisher: WGBH Educational Foundation
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Identifier: 63b9a7824e226ff2131cf945cb4786bf32e4e816 (ArtesiaDAM UOI_ID)
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- Chicago: “Say Brother; Black Power on University Campuses; 24,” 1968-01-16, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 24, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-99p2w600.
- MLA: “Say Brother; Black Power on University Campuses; 24.” 1968-01-16. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 24, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-99p2w600>.
- APA: Say Brother; Black Power on University Campuses; 24. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-99p2w600