The Protests > SAS Occupation of Hamilton Hall
Hamilton Hall remained racially integrated for only a short time after its April 23 occupation. By early morning on April 24, the eighty-six black students “evicted” the white students inside Hamilton Hall. SAS leaders later explained that the spontaneous, participatory, and less-defined politics of SDS-led white students interfered with the specific goals that SAS was advancing in it is occupation of Hamilton Hall (renamed by its occupants “Malcolm X Liberation College”).
Throughout the last week of April, the black students occupying Hamilton developed an organized, tight-knit, and disciplined community, one that differed sharply from the more boisterous atmosphere of other occupied buildings such as Mathematics. To the administration, however, the black-occupied building appeared a time bomb; Kirk, Truman and the trustees feared that the forcible removal of the SAS students in Hamilton would generate a violent reaction from the nearby Harlem community. This fear helps to explain why the administration waited a week before calling in the police to clear the campus. In fact, when the police entered barricaded Hamilton Hall in the early hours of April 30, the occupying students avoided struggles with the police, calmly marched out the main entrance of the building to the police vans waiting on College Walk.
Students inside Hamilton Hall during the occupation.
The black students occupying Hamilton Hall rejected the administration's early efforts at compromise.
H. Rap Brown reading Hamilton Hall statement, Friday, April 26, 1968.
Statement from black students occupying Hamilton Hall that was read by H. Rap Brown on Friday, April 26, 1968