1968 marked the revolution of higher education with a strike by students of the San Francisco State University which lasted five months. This essay aims at elaborating the connection between the strike and the Civil rights movement that had been ongoing for a couple of years. The essay also aims at discussing the impact the strike had on the Rights of students in the two consecutive years following the strike.
The civil right movement was a war and a struggle by the black community to attain social justice for the black people. The movement aimed at getting equal rights for the black community in the constitution just like the whites. The civil war managed to abolish slavery but the racism and discrimination were still experienced. A significant occurrence is one in which a black woman by the name Rosa Parks was asked to stand on a bus so that a white man could sit. This was because there were designated seats for the blacks and whites. The man lacked a seat in the white section and so Rosa parks and two other black people were asked to stand so that the white guy could sit Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and was arrested. The incident sparked an already charged community with many complaints and negative reactions from the black community. She came to be referred to as the 'mother of modern day civil rights movement'.
SFSU and the Civil Rights Movement
The strike at San Francisco State was a build up of years of oppression just like in the Civil Rights movement. It began with the Black students within the school confronting the administration about the number of spots available to study ethnic studies. The San Francisco state had a rule that white students could choose any ethnic studies to study while the black students could only do ethnic studies of the black communities. The black students within the campus formed a union and confronted the administration about the rules as they termed it racist. They could not understand why a black student was not permitted to study an ethnic community of his choice yet the white students could choose from a wide variety of ethnic studies. They felt that the black students had as much a right to all the studies and to more slots for those studies as anyone else.
The black students union in the state school confronted the administration due to the social injustice they faced and they reached a bargain. They were promised four hundred slots in the next academic year and a hundred more in the subsequent year. The colored and mixed students in the school heard of the bargain and also decided to confront the administration on the same issue. They were informed that they would have to share the positions with the black students instead of creating more space. The students went ahead and joined the black students and formed a coalition inclusive of all the minor races.
The roots of the strike were planted early as the Black students had started educating the community around them on equality and peace of races. The school at some point threatened to quit funding some of their community projects as they were setting a sturdy base for the strike. The strike was sparked when the school fired a teacher by the name George Murray. He was an English teacher for second graders and he was an organizer of the black students union at the San Francisco state. He got fired and immediately the strike kicked off. The strike was popular and gained a lot of attention because it was in a commuter school. Most of the students were adults with work experience. It was also a media sensation because it was led by black people unlike anywhere else in the USA where the white people took the lead. Here, the white people supported the black students and were almost nowhere in leadership. The minor ethnic groups also gave their support. It was most famous in that it was a student-led strike that lasted for five months leading to the closure of the school for four and a half months.
The impact of the strike is still felt up till today. The main demands during the strike were that all students have equal access to higher learning, that the senior positions have more colored and dark people and that a new curriculum is adapted to appreciate and embrace all cultures including the ethnic minorities. In response to this, the College Of Ethnic Studies was instituted in 1969 and all other states followed the lead set by San Francisco. By 1978 many institutions of higher learning had increased the number of ethnic studies offered at their institution. The students got the freedom to choose what kind of ethnic studies they wanted to study with no restrictions whatsoever.
The greatest impact of the strike was the creation of the first institution offering ethnic studies in the USA and also gender-based studies. It also managed to achieve the recognition of black students. Before the strike, the black students I higher education were unrecognized and not considered important. They were not included in any official activities of the schools they attended. They were oppressed and rejected by the institutions but the strike gave them a voice. It gave them a platform to air their grievances and complaints and they could now communicate directly with the administration. It also gave the minor ethnicities a voice and recognition.
Analysis On Effectiveness Of Social Movements
In conclusion, I think that the use of social movements such as the San Francisco movement would not be efficient in the present day. They would be considered too radical or violent for the current world state. As a country, the US and other states have become more receptive towards foreigners. The governments also aim at providing the best education possible to their students at all levels of learning. Time has also seen the policies drafted and initiated to protect all human rights regardless of their origin or ethnic background. AS compared to before, people in this era are curious to explore other areas and other cultures simply for the adventure of it. This means that many of the people are open-minded towards new ideas and a new culture. In current time, there are many platforms to speak your mind and air grievances. There are even human resource managers to ensure that all personnel either working or studying have their needs met and taken care of effectively. The social movements are unnecessary in the current time.
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