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San José State University Civil Rights and Campus Protest Collection
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The San José State University Civil Rights and Campus Protest Collection, 1967-1990 (bulk 1968-1970), documents the civil unrest that occurred during the civil rights and anti-Vietnam movements at San José State during the 1960s and the 1970s. Between 1968-1972, college campuses became the center point for a variety of protests and demonstrations, and as the Vietnam War escalated, students across the U.S. protested the presence of Dow Chemical and ROTC recruiters on college campuses. San José State students were very active in the anti-war protests of the era. This collection documents local student response to Dow Chemical and ROTC recruitment, the unequal treatment of African-American and Hispanics students, and athletes. The most notable protest took place during the 1968 Olympic Games when track stars Tommie Smith and John Carlos accepted their medals with the black power salute. This event sparked a series of protests on campus led by faculty member Harry Edwards. This collection is arranged into two series: Series I. Newspaper Clippings and News Releases, 1967-1972 (bulk 1968-1970); Series II. Student Publications and Campus Events, 1967-1990 (bulk 1968-1970); Series III: Protest Ephemera, 1967-1972.
In 1857 the San Francisco Board of Education established Minns' Evening Normal School for current and prospective teachers in the city. Named after its principal, George W. Minns, the institution was formally established as the first California State Normal School by the State Legislature in 1862. A decade later, the Legislature voted to move the Normal School to San José, and the school relocated to its new home on Washington Square prior to the fall term of 1872. After a fire destroyed the Normal School building in 1880, the Legislature authorized $200,000 to construct a new building on the same site. Completed in 1881, the building was commonly referred to as the Second State Normal School. After several names and curriculum changes, Minns' Normal School is now San José State University, offering more than 134 bachelor's and master's degrees with 110 concentrations, and is recognized as one of the top public universities granting such degrees in the West. The 1960s political environment ushered in a new era social reform and high hopes for social progress. The election of John F. Kennedy offered the promise of a "New Frontier," which inspired a variety of social movements that promoted civil rights, women's liberation, identity politics, and anti-war. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 reaffirmed the struggles of the civil rights movement. Despite these gains a growing disillusionment followed with assassinations of political leaders that included Martin Luther King Jr., Robert Kennedy, and Malcolm X, the escalation of the Vietnam War, violent police repression, and political corruption. College campuses became the center point for a variety of militant protests and demonstrations opposing the Vietnam War, the military draft, and recruitment by Dow Chemical and the ROTC. It has been estimated that two million men and women engaged in campus protests. By the 1970s student protest escalated with the killings at Kent State and Jackson State followed by mass protests at over 760 college campuses including a protest at San José University. Events at state colleges mirrored other college campuses. Demonstrations occurred relating to the 1967 Dow Chemical campus recruitment, ROTC recruitment on campus, the 1968-1969 faculty strike regarding labor organization, and response to use of excessive force against demonstrators by local police. Other social protests at SJSU focused on racial discrimination on campus, housing discrimination, and fair treatment of African American and Hispanic students. San Jose State became internationally known as result of the 1968 Olympic Games, where track stars Tommy Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in solidarity with black power militants and the Black Panther Party. Prior to this event, the black student population had experienced extreme discrimination on campus and in housing. Faculty member Harry Edwards and the United Black Students for Action organized protests against institutional racism. President Clark worked to eliminate racial discrimination on campus by creating an ombudsman to address all discrimination concerns. He was one of the few college presidents at the time willing to work with the student population and to enforce new policies that prohibited racial discrimination in athletics, student clubs and Greek societies, and in housing.
3 boxes (5.83 linear feet)
Copyright has been assigned to the San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Special Collections & Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital reproductions of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.
The collection is open for research.