Photo gallery Recalling the 1969 Black Student Strike
Organizers of the 1969 Black Student Strike at UW–Madison recalled the turmoil and the excitement of the campus-wide student strike during a panel Monday night at Memorial Union’s Play Circle. Propelled by longstanding grievances and fresh flash points, black students issued 13 demands and called for a campus-wide student strike.
Participants were, from left, current student Shiloah Coley, Wahid Rashad, Liberty Rashad, John Felder, Hazel Symonette and current student Breanna Taylor.
Strike organizers spoke of the challenges being one of a small number of African American students on campus and of how they quickly became unified around their goals, including increasing African American enrollment.
Hazel Symonette encouraged current students to speak up for their rights and to build on what previous activists did.
“We were bold and we were principled," recalled John Felder, a spokesman for the strikers.
“Just keep on keeping on; it doesn’t stop," Liberty Rashad urged students. The university still needs to do more to increase enrollment of students of color, she said.
Taylor, who with Coley is co-editor of The Black Voice, a student-run digital publication, contributes to the discussion.
Student journalist Shiloah Coley asks a question of the panel.
Students were able to discuss issues they face on campus today with the panelists.
The Play Circle was packed with an engaged audience, including current students and some former students who participated in the strike.