One Black teacher included on the list, seemingly by accident, was quickly reinstated.  A coalition of Black and Puerto Rican UFT members, supported by members of other local unions, released a statement supporting Ocean Hill–Brownsville and opposing the strike..  Leftist white allies, including teachers from the recently eclipsed Teachers Union, supported these demands. , The strike ended on November 17, 1968, when the New York State Education Commissioner asserted state control over the Ocean Hill–Brownsville district. , Brownsville's teachers were members of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), a new union Local that had recently displaced the more leftist Teachers' Union (TU). ) When in 1967 the Bundy Report, a creation of the Ford Foundation, recommended trying decentralization, the city decided to experiment in three areas—over the objections of some members of the white middle-classes, who disliked the ideological tendencies that black-controlled schools might embrace.  On June 20, these 350 strikers were also dismissed by the governing board. , Teachers were taken aback by the level of control exercised by the school board, and many objected to the board's new policies concerning personnel and curriculum.  Junior High School 271, which became the nexus of the strike, was constructed in 1963 to accommodate Brownsville's expanding population of youth. It was a turning point in this way." The average marijuana user at NYU is "male, 20 or 21 years old, living off-campus and majoring in the social sciences. University of Pennsylvania Press. Cole Wilson for The New York Times Today, the dominant image of Columbia 1968 may still be of mostly white radicals hanging out the windows of the occupied buildings.  The new district operated under a separate, community-elected governing board with the power to hire administrators. You will report Friday morning to Personnel, 110 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, for reassignment.  The events surrounding the strike were a factor in the decision by Meir Kahane to form the Jewish Defense League.. arrow , The UFT crippled the ATA during the 1970s through a lawsuit, filed under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, accusing the ATA of excluding white teachers. The United Federation of Teachers (UFT), led by Albert Shanker, demanded the teachers' reinstatement and accused the community-controlled school board of anti-semitism. It escalated to a citywide strike in September of that year, … , Shanker and some Jewish groups attributed the original firing of the teachers to antisemitism. , The strike did have support from Black leaders Bayard Rustin and A. Philip Randolph, who had gained prominence in the labor movement as well as within the civil rights movement. Just 10 days after Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg, a draft riot broke out in New York City and quickly turned into a race riot. The UFT won the right to represent NYC teachers for the purpose of collective bargaining in 1961: Sometimes the students were led into a separate room by a co-teacher: They charged the city with incarcerating them necessarily, "Race, Class, and the Triumph of Teacher Unionism", Daniel Perlstein "The dead end of despair: Bayard Rustin, the 1968 New York school crisis, and the struggle for racial justice", "The Ocean Hill-Brownsville Crisis: New York's Antigone", "Ocean Hill-Brownsville, Fifty Years Later", The Soul That Wanders New York Times January 31, 1988, "Public Schools: Strike's Bitter End," Time, Nov. 29, 1968, Terrorist Organization Profile: Jewish Defense League University of Maryland, News video containing interviews with people involved, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=New_York_City_teachers%27_strike_of_1968&oldid=1002752730, Education labor disputes in the United States, African-American history in New York City, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from October 2012, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 25 January 2021, at 22:16. , The New York City Board of Education established the Ocean Hill–Brownsville area of Brooklyn as one of three decentralized school districts created by the city. The poem then goes on to say the author is sick about hearing about the Holocaust because it lasted only 15 years compared to the 400 years blacks had been suffering. Most of these outside students were Black but some were white; some came long distances to attend the community–controlled schools. The nomination was withdrawn. We're coming up on … Guard Sent into Chicago, Detroit, Boston Johnson Asks a Joint Session of Congress Many Fires Set White House Guarded by G.I. More than 400,000 New Yorkers participated in a one-day February 3, 1964, boycott, and newspapers were astounded both by the numbers of black and Puerto Rican parents and children who boycotted and by the complete absence of violence or disorder from the protestors. Do you know the scoop? According to historian Jerald Podair, these events also pushed New York's Jewish population into accepting an identity of whiteness, further polarizing race relations in the city. However, when protesters announced plans to follow up the February 3 boycott with a second one on March 16, the UFT declined to defend boycotting teachers from reprisals. I think it's important for people to know the kinds of feelings being aroused in at least one child because of what's happening in Ocean Hill-Brownsville.". There was a months-long teachers strike—decades later John Kifner of. , Superintendent Donovan ordered many schools locked; in many places, people smashed windows and broke locks to re-enter their school buildings (sealed by union janitors sympathetic to the strike). When they arrived they were threatened and bullets were thrown at them by audience members, a pregnant teacher was punched in the stomach as she left the auditorium. Margarita Levin letter disputes Felicia R Lee's January 16 Coping column which referred to riots following 1968 assassination of Rev Martin Luther King as civil disobedience (S)  Some camped on school grounds overnight to prevent further lockouts by janitors and custodians.  Some described him as a militant follower of Malcolm X, and the UFT opposed the board's decision to appoint him in July 1967. In a 1968 letter to The New York Review of Books, a group including Noam Chomsky, Susan Sontag, Benjamin Spock and Norman Mailer argued that “the effect of this ‘anti-riot… , Not all UFT teachers supported the strike, and some actively opposed it with 1,716 union delegates opposing the strike and 12,021 supporting. If successful, the experiment could have led to citywide decentralization.  The union filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission and tried to get Campbell fired. , On May 9, 1968, the administration requested the transfer of 13 teachers and 6 administrators from Junior High School 271. , Shanker called the dismissals "a kind of vigilante activity" and said the schools had neglected due process. Looking back, Bob Herbert wrote in 2008: "One of the astonishing things about 1968 was how quickly each shocking, consciousness-altering event succeeded the last, leaving no time for people to reorient themselves. Eight people charged with harassing strikers counter-sued the city, alleging that law enforcement had been discriminatory and excessive. Movements that had been building along the primary fault lines of the 1960s—the Vietnam War, the Cold War, civil rights, human rights, youth culture—exploded with force in 1968. April 6, 1968 Army Troops in Capital as Negroes Riot . This was far from New York's only moment of upheaval during this tumultuous decade. The governing board of the Ocean Hill–Brownsville Demonstration School District has voted to end your employment in the schools of the District. A series of citywide strikes at the start of the 1968 school year shut down the public schools for a total of 36 days. Gothamist is a website about New York City news, arts and events, and food, brought to you by New York Public Radio. , Bolstered by the civil rights movement, but frustrated by resistance to desegregation, African Americans began to demand authority over the schools in which their children were educated. In the Heat of the Summer: The New York Riots of 1964 and the War on Crime. Prior to the boycott, the organizers asked the UFT Executive Board to join the boycott or ask teachers to join the picket lines. ), On May 15, 300 police officers, including at least 60 in plainclothes, cordoned off the school (making five arrests), effectively breaking the parent blockade and allowing the teachers to return. Lester suggested he read that particular poem.  Although the neighborhood was racially segregated, there was more public mixing and solidarity among Blacks and Jews than could be found in most other neighborhoods. The UFT opposed the new principals denounced the Ocean Hill–Brownsville curriculum, saying that awareness of one's racial heritage would not be helpful in the job market. , Around 1960, the neighborhood underwent a rapid demographic shift. Rustin and Randolph were shunned from the black community due to their position. Under this program class sizes would shrink and teachers would double or triple up for individual classes. Peter Kihss, "Screvane Links Reds to Rioting", The New York Times, 7/22/64; and letters in response on 7/24/64. In July there were riots in Birmingham, Chicago, New York City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Britain, Rochester, Plainfield, and Toledo.  All received short letters similar to the following, sent to teacher Fred Nauman:. All rights reserved. , Other parents sent their children to Ocean Hill–Brownsville because the schools there were operational. On June 6th, Robert Kennedy is assassinated. , Rhody McCoy, the new superintendent of the board, began working as a substitute teacher in 1949.  A statistical study published in 1974 found that teachers—white and Black—of Black students were significantly more likely to oppose the strike. In February 1968, some ATA teachers helped to produce a tribute to Malcolm X that presented African music and dance, and glorified Black power; the UFT successfully asked that these teachers be disciplined. ISBN 9780812248500.  The schools appointed a racially diverse set of five new principals—including New York City's first Puerto Rican principal—winning broad support from the community but angering some teachers. The Board of Education urged the teachers to ignore the letters. NASA launched Apollo 8 on December 21st, and on Christmas Eve Americans watched a live broadcast as it became the first spacecraft to orbit the moon and return to Earth.  One school with a large number of Puerto Rican students became completely bilingual. The strike made it clear that these groups, previously allied in the Civil Rights Movement and the labor movement, would sometimes come into conflict. The strike badly divided the city and became known as one of John Lindsay's "Ten Plagues". , In the years before the strike, Brownsville's schools had become extremely overcrowded, and students were attending in shifts. At the start of the school year in 1968, the UFT held a strike that shut down New York City's public schools for nearly two months. This termination of employment is to take effect immediately. Most of these new residents were poor and occupied the neighborhood's most undesirable housing. The newly created school district, in a mostly black neighborhood, was an experiment in community control over schools—the dismissed workers were almost all white and Jewish. The Jewish population consistently elected Socialist and American Labor Party candidates to the state assembly and was a strong supporter of unionized labor and collective bargaining. He worked in the city's public school system ever since, as a teacher and then principal of a special needs school.  Outsiders appreciated the Black school board's attempt to regain control over its own school system. The strike created a serious rift between white liberals, who supported the teachers' union, and Blacks who wanted community control. During the week of December 2 disorders by black students were reported in schools in four of the five of the city's boroughs as well in the New York City Subway.  The board hired new teachers to replace the strikers, including many local Jews, in an effort to prove that the district was not antisemitic. The 1968 Chicago riots were sparked by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The returning teachers were told to go to an auditorium to meet with Unit Administrator McCoy. ", In September, the New York Radical Women organized a protest of the Miss America pageant, and as, On Halloween night in Washington Square Park, the Youth International Party sponsored. A Viet Cong officer was executed by a South Vietnamese National Police Chief, and it was photographed by Eddie Adams. Although the UFT expected this program to be popular, it was challenged by the African-American Teachers Association (ATA; originally the Negro Teachers Association), a group whose founders in 1964 were also part of the UFT.  During the strike, the UFT distributed an official pamphlet called "Preaching Violence Instead of Teaching Children in Ocean Hill-Brownsville", citing a lesson that advocated Black separatism. On February 27th ex-Teenagers singer Frankie Lymon was found dead from a heroin overdose in Harlem. , When the teachers tried to return to the school, they were blocked by hundreds of community members and teachers who supported the administration's decision. On September 9, 1968 93% of the city's 58,000 teachers walked out. Classes were held despite UFT picket lines outside. Students and teachers returned to a chaotic atmosphere in the fall. Here are some things that were going on in NYC and the world in 1968: Here's a walk through New York City in 1968, from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park: By submitting your information, you're agreeing to receive communications from New York Public Radio in accordance with our Terms. Three school officials are taken hostage for 24 hours. , New York City's school system was controlled by the Central Board of Education, a notoriously large and centralized bureaucracy headquartered at 110 Livingston Street in Brooklyn.  The TU, which contained active socialist and communist members campaigned actively for racial equality, desegregation, and other radical political goals. In the event you wish to question this action, the Governing Board will receive you on Friday, May 10, 1968, at 6:00 P.M., at Intermedia School 55, 2021 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, New York. The mind-boggling occurrences seemed to come out of nowhere, like the Viet Cong who set off a depth charge beneath the Johnson presidency with the Tet offensive at the end of January.". These urban riots were unplanned and mostly attacked property of white owned businesses rather than people, before this most American riots involved brutal attacks against … The union, however, declined, promising only to protect from reprisals any teachers who participated. , Shanker was routinely branded a racist, and many African-Americans accused the UFT of being 'Jewish-dominated'. , The NAACP announced support for the strike even though community control deviated from the official integrationist agenda. Ferguson had penned an article in The Guardian in which he wrote his ideal school would have lessons on "instructions in gun weaponry, gun handling, and gun safety" as survival skills in a hostile society. New York saw further race- and slavery-related riots in the 19th century like the 1834 New York anti-abolitionist riots.  Some whites on the neighborhood's periphery lobbied with the school board against the building of a new school that would draw a racially diverse population.  Some groups allied with the civil rights movement and Black Liberation struggles moved towards the creation of independent African Schools, including The East's Uhuru Sasa Shule in Bedford-Stuyvesant. McCoy often frequented a mosque Malcolm X preached at and often visited the preacher's home.  Mayor John Lindsay issued a statement countermanding the district's decision and condemning "anarchy and lawlessness".  Mayor Lindsay was in charge—revisit his Fun City years, The city was still rolling out air conditioned subway cars—, For nine days in February, the city stinks of garbage during. , The newly Black Brownsville neighborhood had few community institutions or economic opportunities. Songs released that year included The Beatles' "Hey Jude" (this was the year. The Black Panthers march in New York City in protest of the trial of co-founder Huey P. Newton in Oakland, California, on July 22, 1968. "A group of young people singing and making music in Washington Square Park, part of New York's Greenwich Park. , Striking teachers were in and out of school during the first weeks of the year, affecting over one million students. By 1970, Brownsville was 77% Black and 19% Puerto Rican. The New York City teachers' strike of 1968 was a months-long confrontation between the new community-controlled school board in the largely black Ocean Hill–Brownsville neighborhoods of Brooklyn and New York City’s United Federation of Teachers.  In 1969 some charged that the schools underwent "a purge of militant black teachers". Columbia is located in Morningside Heights on the edge of West Harlem, and in 1968, a plan to include the community in a proposed gym building exploded in the university’s face. Minutes before he was speaking out in favor of removing troops from Vietnam: A survey taken by the Washington Square Journal that year found that 75% of NYU students have tried marijuana at least once. ", From the 1880s through the 1960s, Brownsville was predominantly Jewish and politically radical. It escalated to a citywide strike in September of that year, shutting down the public schools for a total of 36 days and increasing racial tensions between Blacks and Jews. The union also championed individualist values and meritocracy. Violence and chaos followed, with blacks flooding out onto the streets of major cities. , In the following weeks, hostility continued between the returning teachers and their students and replacement teachers. They were said to be instigated by a rally held by the City Wide Student Strike committee organized by Sonny Carson and JHS 271 teacher Leslie Campbell. The New York draft riot was also closely associated with racial competition for jobs. Chicago “West Side” Race Riots – 1968. The photo won a Pulitzer Prize, and was part of what began to sway the U.S. public opinion against the war. , Reports on the 1967–1968 school year were generally positive. , Educational stratification in elementary schools was reduced. When they refused to vacate their positions, Donovan called in the police. , Mayor John Lindsay and wealthy business leaders, supported community control as a pathway to social stability. He was shot while standing on the balcony of his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968 at 6:01 pm.  The teachers were nearly unanimously Jewish. , Shanker emerged from the strike a figure of national prominence. This action was taken on the recommendation of the Personnel Committee. It began with a one day walkout in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville school district. One sign displayed in the window of the occupied school read, "Black people control your schools". The UFT also sought to cut off the ATA's sources of funding and remove its leaders from the school system. The June 1969 riots at New York City's Stonewall Inn marked a raucous turning point in the fight for LGBT rights. Last night's Mad Men season six premiere was set in December 1967, ending with a shot of Don picking up the paper on the morning of January 1st, 1968—the front page headline reads: "World Bids Adieu To A Violent Year; City Gets Snowfall."  Visitors, students, and parents who supported the schools raved about the shift to student-focused education. , The UFT held a philosophy of limited pluralism, according to which different cultures could maintain some individuality under the umbrella of an open democratic society. The January 1st, 1968 front page headline of the NY Times read: "World Bids Adieu To A Violent Year," however, '68 became a whirlwind year of demonstrations and assassinations. While the local Black population viewed it as empowerment against what it saw as an intransigent white bureaucracy, the teachers' union and other unions saw it as union busting—a reduction in the collective bargaining power of the union who would now have to deal with 33 separate, local bodies, rather than a central administration. The union defied the new Taylor Law to go out on strike, and more than a million students were not able to attend school during strike days.  The dismissed teachers were reinstated, three of the new principals were transferred, and the trusteeship ran the district for four months. This was the real front page headline of the NY Times on that day, but the first half carries a hint of wishful thinking, as 1968 was marked with demonstrations, more racial tension, and assassinations. , In April 1968, the administration sought additional control over personnel, finance, and curriculum. The city's Board of Education and the Ocean Hill–Brownsville board both announced on the same day that the schools would close.. , In 1967, the ATA opposed the UFT directly over the "disruptive child clause", a contract provision that allowed teachers to have children removed from classrooms and placed in special schools.   Scholars have agreed with Shanker's assessment that "the whole alliance of liberals, blacks and Jews broke apart on this issue. Pent-up frustrations boiled over in many poor African-American neighborhoods during the mid- to late-1960s, setting off riots that rampaged out of control from block to block. At the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, a mere block from where tourists marvel at street performers while eating ice cream, is a site of one of the most brutal riots in New York City history.  (At the same time, other teachers were staying off the job as per UFT instructions. The incident further divided the Black and Jewish Communities.  The district's third graders were shown to have fallen from four months behind before community control to twelve months behind after it. Baltimore riot of 1968 (Baltimore, MD) Chicago West Side riots (Chicago, IL) Louisville riots of 1968 (Louisville, KT) 1968 Washington, D.C. riots (Washington, D.C.) 1968 Wilmington riots (Wilmington, DE) 1968: Cleveland, OH — Glenville shootout and riot; 1969: York, PA — 1969 York Race Riot; 1969: New York, NY — Stonewall Riot RW Apple, "Police Defend the Use of Gunfire in Controlling Riots in Harlem", The New York Times, 7/21/64. , Parents in Brownsville generally supported the governing board. The strike pitted community against union, highlighting a conflict between local rights to self-determination and teachers' universal rights as workers. Lester replied "No. , Once created, the new administration of Ocean-Hill Brownsville began to select principals from outside the approved civil service list.  When the city did not grant these powers, the district's parents initiated a boycott of the schools. Get the latest riots news, articles, videos and photos on the New York Post. Many believe it to be the greatest wave of social unrest the United States had experienced since the Civil War. It lacked a middle class, and its residents did not own the businesses they relied upon. , Membership in the American Federation of Teachers, the national union of which the UFT is a part, had increased dramatically during the 1960s, as had the rate of teachers' strikes. 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