1968: The Global Revolutions

Build a Free University: Columbia Belongs to You! > Columbia SDS

Columbia University’s SDS chapter had been organizing continuous campus protests during the fall of 1967. The spring 1968 semester was marked by teach-ins, lectures, screenings of anti-war films (such as Alain Resnais’s Hiroshima Mon Amour), and frequent rallies. SDS and the Student Afro-American Society worked to demonstrate and raise awareness about the university’s collaboration in military research, as well as its role as a rapacious landlord in Harlem. Among the various issues of concern, none generated more anger than Columbia’s plans to encroach on historic Morningside Park by building a university athletic complex that would be off-limits to community members – an act condemned by opponents as an instance of “Gym Crow”. In March 1968, several SDS members were placed on academic probation for their protest activities, building polarization, and catalyzing the conflict that was to come.

For more on Columbia '68, see the digital project: 1968, Columbia in Crisis.

Students for a Democratic Society
Hand-Colored Flyers, 1968
University Protest and Activism Collection

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