487 – Third World Liberation Strike, Part 1
Nicole: [00:00:00] It's Outside Lands San Francisco, Podcast of the Western Neighborhoods Project. I'm Nicole Meldahl.
Arnold: And I'm Arnold Woods.
Nicole: Hey Arnold.
Arnold: Hello Nicole.
Nicole: Well, we are sneaking one last podcast into the year before we a go-go into 2023. You know what? I felt like that was gonna play a lot better in, in my inside voice, in my head. But anyways, in a time that's always about renewal. What better subject to leave the year with than the strike of 1968 to 1969 at what was then known as San Francisco State College. Now, to me, protesting is the most radical form of love and hope imaginable. Students and faculty love their college so much that [00:01:00] they demanded San Francisco State University, as we know it now, be a better, more inclusive version of itself. And those demands created a pioneering college of ethnic studies.
Arnold: Now San Francisco State simply would not be what it is today without this strike. And here to get this into this history, we have a history major who graduated from state in 2002, which is Nicole.
Arnold: And our dear friend David Friedlander, who was there when the strike happened. So welcome David.
David: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Nicole: You are always a joy to have on the podcast. And while this isn't going to be so much a joyful, fun podcast, like the Playland one was, we are gonna get into some really pithy, meaty history. So, this is gonna be a fun one. Thanks for being here, David. [00:02:00]
David: You're welcome.
Nicole: All right, so first of all, we, we should have as a disclaimer that this is not a definitive account of the strike, because honestly, that would be impossible for any podcast crew. And, you know, everything we do is just a, an overview of the history that was here. But we do hope that it serves as, as something that sort of triggers you. Triggers is the wrong word. We don't wanna trigger you. That's not what we wanna do. We want to inspire you to dig deeper into this seminal event of the strike. And good, good lord, this is off to a rough start, but it's gonna get better, I promise.
Arnold: And you can also get your background on San Francisco State generally from podcast episode number 145, which was way back in 2015. But some key things to remember here is that S.F. State began in [00:03:00] 1899 as the San Francisco State Normal School known for its innovative techniques, taught mostly by women faculty to mostly women students. Imagine that! And these students would graduate and go on to shape San Francisco's public school system for decades.
Nicole: Yep. The college started to pick up more men though, and the name was changed to San Francisco State Teachers College in 1921. Then again in 1935 to San Francisco State College when it became a liberal arts college. This was one year after the citywide general strike in 1934, which we point out to center what happens at the college in a time of critical change.
Arnold: So, students and faculty at S.F. State, like on so many college campuses nationwide, responded to this change by standing up for what they believed in, making the conviction of their ideals reverberate beyond the classroom. [00:04:00] In the late 1930s, for example, the campus hosted an anti-war protest with World War II looming on the horizon, which, as you can imagine, was not a popular move at that time. In the 1950s, seven faculty members and two non-faculty members were terminated for refusing to take a McCarthy-era loyalty oath. And if you don't know what we're referring to there, it'll be simpler if you just Google McCarthyism, so we don't go really off tangent here.
Nicole: Yeah. And during the 1950s, the California legislature enacted a master plan for higher education that guaranteed every qualified high school graduate a place for post-secondary education. And David, you know a little bit more about this than we do, I think.
David: Well, State was the choice for people like myself who grew up in the Sunset District, whatnot. And one of the things about the master plan, is it guaranteed that the top 12 and a half [00:05:00] percent were gonna get to go to Berkeley-type campuses, the top 33 and a third were gonna go to state college campuses, of which there were many. The rest would go to community colleges, which is where I, I started out. And so, State was a commuter school. So a lot of people that I grew up with in the Sunset and the Richmond and the western neighborhoods all went to State College. And so they commuted to school every day. But what the, what I, what I found out, which I didn't know at the time, the master plan didn't address financing. You know, it had these altruistic plans, but the, you know, when you looked at the property tax, which funded local schools, there was big discrepancies between wealthy and not so wealthy neighborhoods, which made it be that minority students, which we'll see become, becomes an issue, could not attend these initial campuses. They can go to community college, but very small percentage went on to, and Berkeley and other campuses right out of high school. So that was an issue, which again, the strike will address later on, [00:06:00] but…
Nicole: Right, right. And after the Watts riot of 1965, it became clear that in some cases, wealthier school districts have had up to four times the funding than other less wealthy districts. So, there is an income discrepancy that left some folks behind. So what, what happened in 1962 though?
David: Well, again, one of these things that I didn't know when I was in campus, but I learned later on, there was a, the associated students, which was the campus student organization. They had an election and a progressive slate of candidates one. Now, what was interesting about that is they had access to student fees and they could allocate funding. So they could allocate funding to black student unions, other minority groups. But they could also, what they did, and I'm not sure, I don't have anybody's name, but what they did [00:07:00] implement early on was a community engagement or community involvement plan and a tutoring program. So, they went into neighborhoods around the city to help minority students to qualify to be admitted to state college right out of high school, which, you know, sounds pretty radical. But the problems were, okay, you can educate someone, but what if they live in substandard housing or their parents don't have jobs, or there's crime in the neighborhood? How do you address that? So, then it becomes, oh, education's just the tip of the iceberg. So, I think in, in hindsight and looking back, I think it may have radicalized some of the students, you know, so.
Nicole: Yeah, absolutely.
Arnold: A, as people of color began to work in their own communities, there became an increased awareness that these local neighborhoods, both on and off campus have a say in their own education as well as their children's. And that the campus had a responsibility [00:08:00] to benefit these communities. Not everyone thought these activities were the best interest of the school and its mission, especially the board of trustees.
Nicole: Oh yeah. The board of trustees is gonna be one of the villains of our podcast listeners. So, right. And David, what did minority student groups on campus begin calling attention to?
David: Well, they started realizing that there wasn't a great percentage of minority students, and so they looked at that day. I mean, this is easy to say in hindsight, and, you know, institutional racial, racism, you look at that term and well, that's a, that's a very broad term. But they, they could look at it in the sense that not a lot of our people of color are being educated here. They're not being qualified. They're not being taught. They're not being given the tools at a local school district level to qualify here. So why don't we do something radical about that, like maybe change the admissions. You know, maybe allow [00:09:00] more, I think what the trustees called 'em later on, special admissions, you know. And then also making the curriculum relevant, which will become later on. But you know, the students became frustrated with what was going on, on campus, and I think as the ‘60s went on, became more radicalized, you know?
Nicole: Yeah. When I first read that term special admissions, I was like, man, that's a passive aggressive and offensive way to refer to that. But anyways. So, then…
David: The other thing that, the other thing that I wanted to mention, that had funded the, the student fees was the experimental college, which I believe may have been the first in the entire country. And so that was a, you know, that was students teaching students or you know, for non-credit classes. But you had, as I mentioned, you had everything from black nationalism to North American white witchcraft. You know, so you had all these things being taught as well as your standard curriculum. So…
Nicole: This feels like where people learned about essential [00:10:00] oils. You know what I mean? Like I also interviewed a guy who was like, yeah, I taught one of those classes. I taught kids how to make brown rice. I was like…
David: That could have been a radical thing to do in the 1960s, right?
Nicole: It was. He was like, all you need is brown rice and mushrooms. You will survive. Anyways.
David: Moving right along, Nicole, right?
Arnold: So. besides this new curriculum, one of the other things they did was they started including student evaluations of the instructors in the courses that were going on.
Nicole: A, a scourge to professors at S.F. State to this day. Hot pepper. Hot pepper. Hot pepper. Anyways, if you know what I'm talking about, then you know. So things are happening in the 1960s. This is a long way of saying things are happening. We now have radical change happening with youth culture driving it forward. You've got the fight for civil rights and the [00:11:00] anti-Vietnam war movement happening. Students from comfortable middle-class families who found themselves on college campuses also felt comfortable demanding that their needs be met by those in positions of power. And that sounds like nothing on the front of it, but it really added to the momentum. And more importantly, as David explained earlier, minority students on college campuses began demanding that academia be more inclusive and represent them more fully.
Arnold: So, it feels like SF State would be a naturally receptive campus for this kind of demanded change, In 1962, this is a really radical thing.
Arnold: The campus installed a wooden speaker’s platform as the first college sanction free speech platform in the nation. This is, I think is even before a lot of Berkeley's free speech movement got going.
Nicole: Yeah. Also, can we put one outside WNP. I just had this vision of like, Chelsea, [00:12:00] like hitting up therapy. Like here ye, here ye, we're having donuts.
Arnold: The creation of San Francisco State's Experimental College in 1965 led to the development of an innovative third world curriculum by students. But when students from the Black Students Union, the Third World Liberation Front, and allies from the Students for a Democratic Society, or SDS, asked the college to reevaluate and change how and by whom ethnic studies classes were being conceptualized and taught, they hit a surprisingly conservative wall.
Nicole: Yeah. No one thinks of San Francisco, and more broadly California, as being a conservative place, but it really does have its moments over time. Ronald Reagan was California's governor from 1967, yes, the year of San Francisco’s Summer of Love, to 1975 and he was decidedly anti-free speech. [00:13:00] And we'll just leave it at that so that this doesn't become a longer, more complicated conversation.
Arnold: So, with your ultra-conservative governor in power for the entire length of the San Francisco State strike, the campus had a revolving door of presidents, starting with the appointment of Dr. John Summerskill as president in September 1966. He had a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. He was young, liberal, and Canadian. He leveraged his position as a faculty member and administrator at Cornell University for 15 years into the presidency here at San Francisco State. Unfortunately for Summerskill, he took this position during, shall we say, a complicated time.
Nicole: Oh boy. Yeah. I feel for the guy. In May 1967, students were upset that the college provided student information to the Selective Service Office and protested with a sit-in directed at [00:14:00] Summerskill. Now, of course, the Selective Service Office, that's the draft, right? You're being given information about the draft. Chancellor Glenn Dumke, one of the villains in this episode as well, stood by the practice and the next month, students who felt ignored by the administration picketed the S.F. State Administrative Offices alongside some supportive faculty. Now, this will be a recurring theme, administrators trying to ignore what's happening, and a coalition of students and faculty forcing them to address their demands.
Arnold: On the...
Arnold: Yeah, go ahead.
David: Just one to thing about the trustees. The board of trustees, Max Rafferty was the superintendent of education, very conservative. Ronald Reagan, the governor, was on the board of trustees. Glenn Dumke, on the board of trustees. Most of these were either legislative or gubernatorial appointees. Many from Southern California, many conservative. So just…
David: I'm sure many [00:15:00] people of my generation know that, but thought we should include that in the podcast.
Nicole: Perfect. Also, I couldn't think of a more perfect villain name than Dumke.
Arnold: I'd also note that you know, ultra-conservative means something even different than back in Reagan's time.
Nicole: Yeah, but also what, this is not a podcast about that.
Arnold: Indeed. So, on the very same day, which was June 22nd, 1967, that the Carnegie Corporation invited S.F. State to apply for funds that would create programs to specifically teach black history, art and culture, racial tensions over this funding led to the attack of James Vaszko, editor of the campus publication, The Gator, in November 1967 for writing an editorial opposing the purpose of the Carnegie Funds. [00:16:00] The six students who allegedly attacked Vaszko were charged with felonies and the College Board of Appeals and review attempted to investigate the situation.
Nicole: Yeah, it may shock listeners to know that most of those students were black who were charged with a felony. But as we move on through this podcast, you'll see administrators prevented from dealing with community issues in-house, so to speak. Which complicates and really makes everything worse. So, more unrest follows in early 1968. Sstudents and faculty are upset by the suspension of writers who published a sexually explicit poem in the college literary paper at the end of the year. Just showing you that it's not like racially motivated things always. Students were upset about a variety of things happening on campus at the time. And then demands by sociology Professor Juan Martinez that admission waivers be granted for minorities students go unheard. As is a proposal to expand the [00:17:00] third world curriculum at S.F. State, which students felt had been stalled by campus administrators.
Arnold: Yeah, the Third World Liberation Front, which was a coalition of the Black Students’ Union, the Latin-American Students Union, the Filipino-American Students Organization, and El Renacimiento, a Mexican-American student organization, sorry for, I butchered that name, they occupied the YMCA on campus in protest. Professors are dismissed and the Third World Liberation Front demands their reinstatement as well as the relocation of ROTC programs to be off-campus.
Nicole: Yeah. So here you see the parallel demands at work, right? You've got pro-inclusivity and anti-war. These are two very important threads in this story. A sit-in happens and Terrence Hallinan takes up the speaker's platform. Hallinan, of course, went on to become a prominent civil rights attorney, and [00:18:00] we talked about his role in the 1963 Mel's Drive-in sit-in on podcast episode number 387. So, students at S.F. State are not strangers to civil disobedience.
Arnold: In fact, I believe Hallinan went on to become either district attorney or public defender here in San Francisco.
Arnold: So, we get back to our villain, Glen Dumke. So, he forced Summerskill to resign. And at the press conference announcing his resignation, Summerskill says, and we’re kind of paraphrasing here, that we won't see peace on the campus until we see peace generally, and that we need to face the fact that students are dissatisfied with the world we gave them and they are striving to fix our mistakes.
Nicole: Yeah, I really like Summerskill. He went on and led a fabulous life after this, doing a lot of good in the world. So, bummer that S.F. State let, let him leave early. So, [00:19:00] there's a lot going on at S.F. State, but actually none of this is the strike this podcast is about. This is just prologue. Here's how we get there. Dr. Robert Smith was appointed as the next president of S.F. State on June 1st, 1968. He was a professor of education and had actually been a dean at the college since 1940, but he would not last long as college president. Let's give him some credit though. He did, in September 1968, announce the creation of the Black Studies Department with Dr. Nathan Hare as acting chair. And David, you have something to add.
David: Just wanna say that for those of you who can remember or don't remember, the summer of 1968 was not an easy time. First, we had Martin Luther King was assassinated, then Robert Kennedy. Then we had the, the Democratic Convention in Chicago. And so all of this is going on, and so, how much it affected students on campus, [00:20:00] probably some, you know, and, and so all of that is happening at the same time. And so, for me, you know, that time was very difficult. And so, I mean, just, just try to figure out what you're gonna do with your life on a daily basis, but then you have all these other issues you have no control over, okay. And so just wanted to insert that because I think it's important in the context of what's going on on campus. So…
Arnold: ,Yeah, let's talk about Dr. Nathan Hare here for a minute. He started as a sociology professor at Howard University in Washington D.C., but was dismissed in June 1967 for leading student faculty protests and aligning himself with the Black Power Movement. He was immediately recruited by John Summerskill and the Black Student Union to work at S.F. State when he's only in his early thirties. And that is the perfect age if you wanna be envisioning a [00:21:00] new way to be.
Arnold: And he wrote a conceptual proposal for a Department of Black Studies and actually coined the term ethnic studies to replace minority studies.
Nicole: He’s also a complete badass and like a heavyweight boxer. So like, there's so much more there. Could be a whole podcast on him, but we limited it to that anyways. So also in September 1968, S.F. State hired a graduate student named George Mason Murray, then the Black Panther Party Minister of Education, to teach introductory English class, English classes. Which I need right now cause I can't speak English. It would be S.F. State's unilateral suspension of Murray that sparked the longest strike in American history.
Arnold: College strike.
Nicole: College strike. You know what? I'll get English soon. We'll get there.
Arnold: At an impromptu tabletop speech in the cafeteria in late October [00:22:00] 1968. Murray advocated that black students carry guns to protect themselves against racist administrators. He also urged students to strike and demand the admission of more black and Mexican-American students. In addition, Murray made another speech that month at Fresno State in which he said, quote, "We are slaves and the only way to become free is to kill all the slave masters." End quote. These slave masters who are identified as President Johnson, chief Justice Earl Warren, and Governor Ronald Reagan.
Nicole: Lord knows Reagan obliterated a lot of workers' rights, but again, another podcast for another time. The combination of both events prompted our evil trustees to demand that President Smith suspend, suspend Murray on October 24th, a demand that Smith initially refused. He was asked again to suspend Murray on October 31st, and it finally did come to pass on November [00:23:00] 1st, 1968, and Smith was pissed. Telling newspapers and I quote, "the action is unprecedented. Trustees acted contrary to strong representations by community leaders in San Francisco and against recommendations my staff and I made. We have an investigation and process and necessary action would've been taken at the appropriate time." End quote.
Arnold: So the, these actions were seen as racist and authoritarian by controlling conservative and out of touch administrators. But crucially, this unprecedented suspension also angered faculty who now felt that what happened to Murray could also happen to them. And to make matters worse. There's an elected official pile-on that continues to be the hallmark of American politics. Governor Reagan chimed in that Smith should be rebuked for not immediately suspending Murray, since he advocated for the assassination of public figures. [00:24:00] And quote, “one trustee called the Smith-Dumke struggle kind of like Truman and MacArthur.” End quote.
Arnold: Then we got Mayor Alioto, also condemning Murray as a quote, “old-fashioned Marxist who relies on bluff.” End quote. And then there's Assemblyman John Foran, who's said he would introduce legislation to make it a felony to bring guns to campus.
Nicole: Yeah, I wanna, I wanna take a minute so that we can just absorb what's happening here. You've got dissociated officials grandstanding with legislation that won't actually fix the problem at hand. They're spewing hateful McCarthy-era sentiment and calling up World War II rhetoric. It would be really comical if this wasn't still an active playbook, right? Thoughts and prayers after shootings, things like that. But here's a bright spot. On November 3rd, 1968, and I quote, “State Senator George Moscone [00:25:00] called for the resignation of State College Chancellor Glenn Dumke for interfering in the disciplinary process against Black Panther George Murray.” So, Moscone blamed the election that was imminent. It was due to happen next week, and this sort of what he quoted as Republican desperation politics surrounding that upcoming election.
David: One comment about that, if you can remember that election, it was all about law and order. And law and order and the people at San Francisco State and those people were not following law and order. You know, who wanted to follow law and order was the trustees and those other folks. So, that whole election was all about law and order, and we'll get to that later. But..
Nicole: Dun Dun!
Arnold: Can we also note the irony here that, you know. back then, you know, they're talking about arresting [00:26:00] anybody who carries a weapon onto a campus, and today they're advocating for weapons in school to protect our kids.
Nicole: Again, this isn't a podcast about that.
David: Oh, it's not? Oh, okay.
Nicole: It is, but it isn't. We're, we're trying to be a little subtle, but it's hard to be subtle these days.
David: But what's interesting is, this is 50 years ago. I mean, this is 50 years ago, this is what was happening in this culture 50 years ago in San Francisco. So…
Nicole: Look, the one thing you learn as a historian is that nothing really changes. There's just different clothing styles. Anyways.
Arnold: So, the ballot back then that month also featured Proposition 3, which included $50 million for urban school rehabilitation. And it's thought that coverage of the strike compelled votes against it. The measure lost by 681,000 votes, the first defeat of higher education construction bond issues since [00:27:00] 1962. And it was further proof to the young, urban students that nobody was looking out for them. And what do you do when nobody's listening to you? You make them listen to you.
Nicole: Heck yeah, you do. The strike began on November 6th, 1968 by calling for the immediate reinstatement of George Murray, but this eventually grew into 15 demands. The first 10 were made by the Black Student Union, and the last five were made by the Third World Liberation Front. So, we're gonna alternate going back and forth to read them out. So, they are, number one Arnold, what do we have here?
Arnold: The first one was that all dispersed black studies courses be immediately transferred to an independent Black Studies department where all instructors received full-time pay.
Nicole: Yep. And number two was that Dr. Hare, as chairman of the Black Studies Department, receive a full professorship and compensation commensurate with his experience. [00:28:00]
Arnold: The third one was that the Black Studies department issue bachelor's degrees and have a sole discretion to hire faculty and determine the department's direction.
Nicole: Number four, that all unused slots for black students from fall 1968, under the special admissions program, be filled by Spring 1969.
Arnold: The fifth one was that all black students wishing to attend San Francisco State be admitted in the fall of 1969.
Nicole: Number six, that the department of Black Studies should hire 20 full-time teaching positions.
Arnold: Seven was the financial aid officer, Dr. Helen Bedesem, be replaced by a black person since she oversaw unfair disbursement of funding.
Nicole: Number eight, that no disciplinary action will be administered to any students, workers, teachers, or administrators during and after the strike, as a consequence of their participation in the strike.
Arnold: Nine was that the California State College trustees [00:29:00] would not be allowed to dissolve any black programs on or off the San Francisco State campus.
Nicole: Yeah. Boo trustees. Number 10, very simply that George Murray stays.
Arnold: The 11th was that the creation of a School of Ethnic Studies be developed by students in each particular ethnic organization who would have authority over hiring and retention of faculty and administrators, as well as the curriculum in those programs.
Nicole: Number 12, that there be an appropriation of 50 faculty positions to the School of Ethnic, Ethnic Studies, specifically 20 for the Black Studies department.
Arnold: 13 that, the admission of all non-white students that apply to the college in the spring semester of 1969.
Nicole: Number 14, the admission of all non-white students that apply to the college in the fall of semester, in the fall semester of 1969.
Arnold: And finally, we get to 15, which was that all faculty positions chosen by non-white people be [00:30:00] retained, including. George Murray.
Nicole: Yeah, so, if, oh David, how do you feel about this?
David: Well, I just wanted to say one thing. The strike began on November 6th, and what happened the day before? The day before was the presidential election where Nixon and a Nixon and Agnew were both elected, President, Vice President of the United States. And, sorry for this, but they would both have to resign within the next five years. So, so much for law and order.
Nicole: Yeah, Nixon. Nixon was a great president.
David: Oh what people don't know was Agnew had to resign. You know, so there's a podcast, Rachel Maddow has a great podcast about that. Sorry.
Nicole: It's okay. No, this is all great context, right? Like nothing happens in a vacuum, which we'll talk about later too. So, like this is great context. And although Nixon did give us the GGNRA, he literally did nothing else for us. That's not factually accurate, but anyways…
David: Moving right along, I'm sorry, I interject that.
Nicole: Yeah. [00:31:00] So what's important to point out about these demands is they want control over their own destiny, over their own history. You know, they're, they're demanding to have control over how these things happen and who gets to be part of the process. And meanwhile, president Smith tries to get control over what's happening on campus, even as members of the Black Students Union repeatedly called for non-violent tactics and members participating in the strike calmly went classroom to classroom, encouraging students and faculty to join the strike. You know, there's always mischief at play when large groups gather this way. Think about the Black Lives Matter protests that happened in 2020 that a bunch of people, who weren't there to further the cause, came in and caused a lot of trouble. So, an explosive was detonated under a basement stairwell that injured no one, but, you know, caused a pretty good panic. And reports of small fires, like typewriters being thrown from windows, graffiti [00:32:00] and some small-scale attacks on students and even some journalists, these did happen. No one was critically injured, but they were really dramatized in the news, so it made it sound like bedlam was at play at S.F. State, which, as we talked about earlier, had traction for the election at the time.
Arnold: So, Smith militarized this strike by calling in a tactical squad from the San Francisco Police Department and hilariously, a rally of about 1000 outside the administrative building was dispersed internally after attendees immediately identified the plain clothes officers in their crowd.
Nicole: I, this, this is so funny. They're like, oh, we're gonna send some guys in. And everybody there was like, oh, we got a narc.
Arnold: So, the campus is closed on and off, and the strike gains momentum. The black football players joined the strike, and yes, San Francisco State once had a football team, but news coverage noted [00:33:00] that acceptance of the strike on campus was just mixed.
Nicole: Yeah. So like, you know, protests are happening every day. There's something happening on campus every day to like keep the momentum moving forward. An Examiner article on, on November 9th, 1968, reported comments from a, and I quote, “bearded 19-year-old creative arts major. He supported the strike and hadn't been to class since it began.” So they're trying to speak to like the disruption on campus. It continues. “When asked if he was afraid he would fail his classes, he said not at all. It's a myth to say that you have to go to class to pass. Besides, I'm keeping up with the classes on my own.” End quote. I can tell you that some of my favorite professors I'm still in touch with from State can tell you that most students still feel this way. Anyways, he does reference the student, this 19-year-old bearded creative arts major. [00:34:00] He references student strikes in France at the time and notes that, and I quote, “this kind of revolutionary movement takes time. It's too heavy, early for the heavy action. So maybe in the spring.” And actually, that would be incredibly prophetic. So, if you are the 19-year-old bearded creative arts major, David.
David: It wasn't me. I was somewhere else. Honest.
Nicole: But was very prophetic. And we'll, we'll get into that.
Arnold: So, this bearded creative arts major.
Nicole: Let's call him Bill.
Arnold: He also said that the faculty are now ready to strike over insufficient funding. Quote, “we just don't have enough money to run a decent education program.” End quote. Plus, many were upset by how Murray had been suspended. Many of the classes that weren't [00:35:00] outright canceled were spent discussing the strike. Before the bomb that went off in the stairwell in the education building. Attendance had been at 75%. After that it was only 40%.
Arnold: Other students supported the strike, but also wanted to do what they were in college for, which was just study.
Nicole: Yeah. To be fair, if I, if I were there and I was like, oh, a bomb went off, yeah, I'm not coming to campus next week. I'm gonna ride this out. So, on November 14th 1968, the Examiner found a 30-year-old blonde anthropology student named Kenneth Albrecht wandering around campus looking for two students who ghosted him, but were supposed to support his anti-strike strike. Love it. Peak college stuff right now. An economics major named Craig Jones was on campus because he didn't know that campus had been closed. [00:36:00] Which I guess before the days of like constant connectivity makes kind of sense. But he called himself a member of the silent majority that agreed with the strikers, but not their methods, nor the methods of the tactical squad. And David is nodding his head right now.
David: Well, the silent majority, I mean, there were groups like the Young Americans for Freedom, which were conservative, young, conservative students, which was fine. And the thing about the tactics squad is, I was having a conversation with Paul Judge about this, and you know, those of us who grew up in the neighborhoods and the Sunset and the Richmond, we knew a lot of people, their parents, uncles, relatives, or whatnot, who were in the police department. And so, you know, here you are trying to go to school and here's the tactics squad, maybe with someone you know. You know, trying to enforce whatever, you know, decorum and, and here you are in the middle of this. And so, it was, Paul has a great story about meeting a [00:37:00] a, a police officer coming home late one night on Clement Street, you know, kind of dragging, and Paul dragging home and just looking like he'd been through the ringer after, you know, maybe a day at the campus. And Paul just wanted to reach out and give him a hug. Which of course he didn't do, but that's what he felt like. So, you know, even though there was this, this chasm between, I guess, you know, the administration or the establishment and the students, there was also a lot of connectivity there because of just the neighborhoods we came from and, and who we were and who our parents were, and our friends of our parents. So, just wanted to insert that cause I think it's relevant.
Arnold: So, President Smith, he canceled classes and held a three-day convocation on campus to discuss the full list of the submitted demands. And long story short, that didn't go great. and Dr. Smith ended up resigning on November 26th, 1968. And [00:38:00] echoing, echoing his predecessor and also echoing George Moscone, Smith called the situation complex, quote, “more acute and more complicated than the past turmoil that has struck campus.” End quote. Aside from Murray, Smith cited the college trustee's refusal to approve plan for a student union building, but also Tuesday's election results. That was the election that that David just mentioned a few minutes ago.
Arnold: He said quote, “a good many college students think with a great deal of justification that people my age have cut them out of the political process.” End quote.
Nicole: Yes. You know what? Young people still feel like that. This is an age-old tale with very different experiences and consequences. So, replacing Smith was Dr. S.I. Hayakawa. He's a semantics professor who would go on to become a Republican senator from [00:39:00] California, and interestingly enough, also a Canadian. We have a history of Canadians running our college. But also interestingly, he's the author of a 1941 book on semantics titled, Language in Thought and Action. He came to S.F. State in 1955 and helped to organize the anti-digit dialing league, a San Francisco group that opposed the introduction of all digit telephone numbers.
Arnold: I love this and I hope we always remember that the man tasked with solving these San Francisco State strike in 1968 was like, no, I want to keep letters in my phone numbers forever. Anyways, another fun fact about Hayakawa before we move on that will be near and dear to David, is that one of his prominent students at San Francisco State was Steven Gaskin.
David: That's right, he [00:40:00] was.
Arnold: And if you…
David: He left campus not too long after Hayakawa became president. He was teaching at the experimental college.
Arnold: And there's more about Gaskin in…
David: That’s another podcast.
Arnold: Well, in fact, it was a podcast kinda already when we talked about the Chet Helms and the Family dog because Steven Gaskin held classes there and you were part of that podcast, David.
David: Thank you very much for reminding me. Yes, I was Arnold.
Nicole: Yeah. Anyway, Hayakawa was only named acting president in November,1968. Boy, he got a front row seat to the strike getting much, much worse because the American Federation of Teachers, the AFT, joined the protest by setting up an informational picket line around campus on December 11th, 1968. There is incredible KQED footage of the AFT strike that shows protestors holding signs that say “trustees [00:41:00] must negotiate now” and shouting power to the people, as police in riot gear stand at the entrance to the Behavioral Sciences building. And for me, having spent so much time on that campus, that was a real shock to see all of this happening in the landscapes that were so familiar to me, this, the BS building I spent a lot of time in as a history major at 19th and Holloway, things like that. It was a real trip. And this is all at, in the archives of, at S.F. State, you can get to it all through Diva, which is an incredible open-source resource, just as a, as a plug.
Arnold: And if you look back at the press conferences of, of the time, they show a demonstrably combative Hayakawa who seems annoyed that he has to be there. He calls the AFT proposal unacceptable and tells everyone present that if they want to affect change on campus, that they should support the actions of the administration on campus. He refuses all [00:42:00] questions causing one journalist in attendance to ask him how he expects to communicate properly if he won't be part of the discussion. Which is deeply ironic for a man who authored a book on language in thought and action. And this brings us to the end of 1968 and much like, we are now at the end of 2022, yeah, there's gonna be a changeover.
Nicole: Yeah, there's gonna be a changeover, that's for sure. And it, this does feel like the right place to stop. I, I do agree with you Arnold. We're heading into 1969 under the what I like to call administrative obstinacy of a future Republican senator. As always, it's important to explain that all of this wasn't happening in, in a vacuum. And State didn't invent the Black Studies department, right? On November 24th, 1968, the Examiner ran an article that started, and Arnold, [00:43:00] why don't you read this quote?
Arnold: Sure. Quote, "it might come as a surprise that Black Studies, the issue San Francisco State is now embroiled in a paralyzing crisis, has been an accepted educational way of life in the Bay Area since the fall of 1967.
Nicole: Way back, way back,
Arnold: Oakland's Merritt College, the first to install a full program, has already graduated its first Afro-American study majors qualified by a recent State Board of Education ruling to teach black studies in public schools under a temporary credential. Merritt, San Francisco City, and Los Angeles City, all junior colleges, are believed to be the only higher educational institutions in California now awarding such degrees." End quote.
Nicole: Yeah. So at the time, Black History was being learned by 500 students at S.F. State in 21 classes taught in [00:44:00] 12 different departments. Which was seen by many as doing enough. But the Black Students Union rightfully wanted an independent department. And UC Berkeley, under Assistant Chancellor, Dr. Andrew Billingsley, was also trying to set up an autonomous department in Afro-American Studies by the fall of 1969. So, things were starting to move around the Bay Area around this movement.
Arnold: Yeah. The Examiner asks, what's the need and purpose of black studies and Dr. Hare answered. He expressed hope that it, quote, “might have an impact on the entire system of American education,.” End quote. But another analysis from the Afro-American Student Union at the University of California was more to the point. It read, quote, “we are decided that we alone can define ourselves, that we are beautiful despite the white negative concept of us, that we have history and art and a cultural that no race or [00:45:00] nation can stamp out our souls no matter the intensity of this foolish effect.” End quote.
Nicole: Yep. That's why you need an independent Black Studies department and Ethnic Studies department. So, we're gonna leave it there. And now we're going to awkwardly transition into listener mail.
Arnold: Yeah, we're gonna skip by the Say What Now this week and save it for the end of this two-part podcast. So…
Nicole: 4-day long podcast. Yeah. You don't need more,
Arnold: Nicole, how does one send us listener mail?
Nicole: Oh, it's so very easy. Arnold. You just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or any email you find on the website literally all comes to me. So, it's a trick and it's why I have a hard time responding to some emails, sometimes. [00:46:00]
Arnold: And we did actually get an email to us. And not only did we get an email, it came from a recent podcast guest that being Angus, who was our guest on the podcast all about him,
Nicole: All about Angus.
Arnold: Yeah, and his subject headline for the, his email, was, that was fun, and he said, “thank you for allowing me to bloviate and always remember history never gets old.” No, actually Angus, thank you. We love making space for historians to share their own history.
Nicole: I love Angus so much. Oh, I don't think he listens to the podcast. He'll never hear this. But neither do I Angus. Anyways, Angus has been a long-time member. Every time we ask for support, he brings it. Whether it's putting him on the podcast [00:47:00] or, or donating. Arnold, when Angus donates to us, by clickety, clickety, clacking the big orange button on any page of our website outsidelands.org, what does Angus get?
Arnold: He gets the quarterly membership magazine if he's signing up to be a member.
Nicole: It's true.
Arnold: He gets discounts on events. He gets certain free events that are member only.
Arnold: And there may be some other exclusive perks along the way. Also, you just get that good feeling of supporting all the good work we do and make available for free, which includes this podcast. It includes the OpenSFHistory photo image collection.
Arnold: It includes the care and exhibition of our Cliff House collection.
Nicole: Ooh, it's pricey.
Arnold: And, you know, we're looking into some, maybe adding some other collection materials in the near future, so we need your help for that as well.
Nicole: It's true. People clean out [00:48:00] their basement every day in this city and are like, hey, will you take my old junk? And we're like, sure, we'll take it. Yeah. Which is a long way of saying that we do a lot of work, right? New Year, new history, same old WNP that you can count on. Right Arnold?
Arnold: Yeah. So, let's get into some announcements of what's coming.
Nicole: Excellent. Yeah, that's right listeners, you'll get more of what you love from WNP next year. And I'm now in my NPR voice. Things we have in the works include history walks from John Martini and Richard Brandi. Collaborative events with our friends at the Global Museum at S.F. State, San Francisco chapter of the American Institute for Architects, which also just gave us the 2022 Resilience Award because nobody's more resistant than these scrappy little guys. Am I right guys?
Nicole: We also [00:49:00] were talking to the Cable Car Museum, Manny's in the Mission and more. So much more we can't announce yet, but things are cooking.
Arnold: You know about that NPR voice? Back when I did college radio, my, the news director used to get on me because I had my normal speaking voice, this voice, when I did the news. And then I had a, a sports voice that I used when I did sports. And he is like, why can't you do the sports voice when you do the news?
Nicole: All right.
Arnold: It's like, well, sports was like little shorter snippets and I couldn't keep that up for the entire news broadcast.
Nicole: Can we please do the next podcast with you in Sports Voice? Actually, no.
Arnold: I don't think I could do it.
Nicole: I don't think it's the right tone, but we'll definitely do a podcast at some point that will be ridiculous and requires that tone.
Arnold: Right. Anyways, in 2023, some of the things we're looking to celebrate include the Alexandria Theater, which turns a hundred years old next year. [00:50:00] Also the Helen Crocker Russell Library, which turns 50 years old next year.
Arnold: We're also gonna be showcasing our exhibitions in the front windows of the WNP clubhouse here on Balboa. Which will include a brand new rotating OpenSFHistory exhibition series that Nicole's gonna curate, that is inspired by Ansel Adams and features highlights from the collection alongside that of a local photographer each quarter. Looking forward to that.
Nicole: I'm real hopped up on this and I'm reading a lot of nerdy photo photography books right now, so I apologize for how pretentious, but fun this is going to be. Speaking of pretentious and fun, I will also be heading a panel discussion on the problems and potential for public monuments, featuring Ralph Remington, just confirmed. He's San Francisco's director of Cultural Affairs and awesome. I really like what this guy is doing for San Francisco history. This is [00:51:00] all for the California Association of Museum's annual conference in March. And, you know, WNP, I'm consistently surprised by the conversations we get to have with people, and I'm so honored that we keep being asked to do bigger and better and more things. So, all of our public programs, all of this needs support. So, we make sure the trains run on time. Am I right, Arnold?
Arnold: You are absolutely right, Nicole. And if you're listening to this, the day it drops, which is. New Year's Eve, December 31st, 2022. This is literally your last day to donate to our winner appeal before the end of 2022. Ensures you get that one last tax deduction for this year. And it'll also make sure we start the new year on solid ground.
Arnold: Or if you're starting your year off right with this podcast, make it your first tax deductible donation of 2023. You know, sincerely, we need your support. Whether [00:52:00] it's for 2022 or 2023, and we need it to survive and do the work that you hopefully enjoy a lot.
Nicole: It's true. I'll tell you a secret about running nonprofits. You're just always asking for and in need of money. It's not the fun part that they tell you about in grad school. Constantly haranguing people for money. So, you know, I don't wanna do that. So, we need a bunch of money now, so I don't have to talk about this again for at least five to 10 podcasts.
Arnold: And I would note we are truly blessed by all the people who have contributed to us in the last few years. They made the Cliff House collection happen. They're helping us do all kinds of great things in the last year and the upcoming year. So, thank you all so much and please keep it up in 2023.
Nicole: It's true Arnold, that's a great point. This is off script now, but definitely 2022 was a [00:53:00] wild and historic year for the organization. I am so impressed and amazed and astounded by everybody who showed up as part of our community this year to do everything from vacuuming to, you know, high level things like moving two massive porcelain muses for free. So, I just love all of you so much and I really appreciate you being part of the WNP family.
Arnold: Also shout out to the, what was it, 14,500 people who came, visited the Cliff House Museum
Nicole: Just shy of it.
Arnold: Or I should say The Museum at The Cliff.
Nicole: Yeah. And it's been, it's been one of the most exhausting years of my life in the best kind of ways. And this podcast has been one of the most fun parts of it. We get to hang out with David Friedlander, dear member who's not in town. So, it's a way to stay in touch with folks who haven't been able to stay in San Francisco. And in general, it's just been [00:54:00] wonderful. So, thanks for listening, friends, and thanks for being with us, David.
David: You're welcome. And how will S.I. Hayakawa get out of this jam, Nicole and Arnold?
Nicole: Oh, I don't know. You're gonna have to tune in next week, the first week of 2023 to find out.
Arnold: See y'all in the new year!
Nicole: Happy New Year!
Ian: Outside Lands San Francisco is recorded by Ian Hadley. Content creation and media production at ihadley.com.
Nicole: To learn more about the Western Neighborhoods Project and more on San Francisco history, go to Outsidelands.org. You can also find us on social media at Facebook, which is outsidelands with an S, at Twitter, which is outsidelandz with a Z, and on Instagram, which is outsidelandz, also with a Z. And check out our historic San Francisco images website at OpenSFHistory.org. [00:55:00]