The Cornell College Sit-In

 

 

 

 

At 5:30 in the morning on October 17, 1968, 26 students broke into Old Sem in protest. Planning to stay for a few days, they brought ample food, blockaded the doors, and snuggled in with their blankets. To get into the building, the students had to break a window and encounter a hesitant custodian. An impromptu faculty meeting was held at 8:50 that morning to discuss the situation. After going over every option from giving in to physically removing the students, no immediate decision was reached. Doyle Raglon, who was the leader of the group, told administrators that the students would leave Old Sem if a committee was created to discuss the demands of the sit-in students. Raglon had distributed his demands early that morning. His demands included the creation of a black activities center. The center was to include a place for African Americans to socialize, a collection of books and other literature by African American authors, and a lecture hall. Increasing the amount of African American convocation speakers by 10% was another demand made by Raglon. The final demand included the hiring of more African American professors and an African American advisor to increase African American curriculum to learn more about African American culture.

By the afternoon 7 more students had joined the protestors inside Old Sem. After quite a few heated debates between President Stumpf and Raglon, the police were called in. Raglon, with the misunderstanding that the president had granted the group amnesty, argued with President Stumpf one last time before the protestors willingly left the building. The 33 students proceeded to climb aboard the bus provided by the police while singing the civil rights song, "We Shall Overcome."

Song provided by:

http://www.lib.virginia.edu/small/exhibits/music/audio.html

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