WNP491 – Third World Liberation Strike Part 3
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: Well, hello again Arnold.
Arnold: Welcome back Nicole. We're actually doing what we said we would do this week.
Nicole: Oh, miracles do happen. We're doing two podcasts in a row as advertised. Yes. And you know what that means. That means this is the third and yes, final installment of the San Francisco State Strike Podcast series. And okay. I know it's a long one. I know a lot of our podcasts are long these days. It's just that there's so much that needs to get said, and we're busy people. We have the information. We wanna tell you right now, we can't hold it back. But also, in this particular instance. [00:01:00] This really feels like crucial history and overlooked local history, that happened in our borders and had national consequences that continue to be relevant, and debated. So, you know what, I'm standing by the length of these podcasts.
Arnold: As well you should. So, we recommend, of course, that you go back and listen to episodes 487 and 490, which were the first two parts of this, to prepare you for, if you haven't already listened to them.
Arnold: But if you've just discovered this podcast and you're like, oh, I don't wanna scroll all the way back to those prior episodes, and here's a short and sweet recap. Students from the Black Student Union or BSU and the Third World Liberation Front, aka, the TWLF, at San Francisco Street went to, on strike in 1968 in order to achieve greater representation in the curriculum on their campus.
Nicole: Yep. And then in [00:02:00] 1969, faculty members also went on strike as members of the American Federation of Teachers or AFT joined picket lines, seeking better working conditions. And some key names that you'll need to know for this podcast are S.F. State's Acting President, Dr. S.I, Hayakawa. For the California State College Board of Trustees, we have evil Chancellor Glenn S. Dumke. Or you can say that like Timon and Pumbaa say “Mufasa” in the Lion King. Or just say it normally. That's your prerogative. And President Theodore Merriam, also from the California State College Board of Trustees. And, of course, back with us today, which we forgot to introduce in the initial introduction to this podcast, it's our good friend, David Friedlander.
David: Thank you for having me back, Nicole and Arnold.
Nicole: This is the podcast where you get to shine, David.
David: Okay. [00:03:00]
David: I'll do my best.
Arnold: The best part of David's story is coming up and yeah, that is also where we left things at the end of episode 490. So, let's pick up things from there. Campus reopened on January 6th, 1969. And teachers officially went on strike. Support for both strikes was growing. The Statewide Strike Supporting Organizing Committee called for a mass convergence on campus, declaring an attack against one campus was an attack against all campuses.
Nicole: Yeah. If you remember from the last podcast, we mentioned that all these different support groups are popping up. So, members of the Community Strike Support Coalition included a lot of incredibly impactful organizations. You had the Strike Support Committee of Marin County. Parent Strike Support Committee. North Beach Committee for Democratic Controlled Schools. Japanese-American Ad Hoc Committee. The Pacific Heights Ad Hoc Committee, which kind of surprised me to be honest. Western [00:04:00] Addition Community Organization. Concerned Chinese for Action and Change. And the Mission Community.
Arnold: That is quite a broad spectrum of support. And Dr. Carlton Goodlett as a spokesperson for this group, said, quote, “the coalition supports not only the demands, but also the stance that they are non-negotiable.” End quote. And let's take a minute here to talk about Dr. Goodlett, because one of the amazing things about this history is just how many impressive, trailblazing people were involved.
Nicole: Absolutely. Goodlett graduated from Howard University and went on to become one of the first black men to earn a doctorate in psychology from UC Berkeley, at the age of 23. What were you doing at 23? Ask yourself that. He returned to the Bay Area in 1945 after earning his doctor of medicine in Nashville,
David: Mearry Medical College, thank you. [00:05:00]
Nicole: And opened a medical practice that served the Bay Area's black community, which had expanded significantly with the influx of war workers in the 1940s. And he quickly became president of the local NAACP chapter.
Arnold: And he was not only a doctor, he was a co-owner of a small weekly newspaper. He also co-founded the San Francisco Young Democrats with Philip Burton, and he was a big supporter of Willie Brown. He ran for Governor of California in 1966. And yes, he was arrested for protesting at San Francisco State in 1968. He was also a vocal critic of the Vietnam War, which again shows you how many of the threads of intertwined activism that were actively at play during this strike.
Nicole: Because only the cool kids were arrested at S.F. State during this time. Right David?
David: Some of them. Only some.
Nicole: Dr. Goodlett's career and life as a [00:06:00] civil rights activist in San Francisco was so culturally and historically significant that just two years after his death in 1997, a unanimous board of supervisors renamed Polk Street in front of City Hall after him. So, if you've ever wondered why City Hall's address is #1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, now you know.
Arnold: This coalition called everyone in support of the strike went to the campus for Community Solidarity Week. By this time, things are really heating up. Goodlett said Hayakawa was quote, “a liar for contending that the campus is functioning almost normally.” End quote. He's not wrong. The campus was not functioning normally. But it's important to point out that not all teachers were on strike, in the same way that not every student participated in the student strike.
Nicole: Yeah, this cracked me up. They went through and like quantified how many teachers were striking from different departments on campus. They being [00:07:00] the San Francisco Examiner. And as you would expect, a School of Business reported only one out of 68 faculty members missing. But the humanities building was practically empty. And depending on who you spoke with, student attendance was either only 20% of normal according to the AFT, or it was 68% of normal according to acting S.F. State president, Dr. S.I. Hayakawa. So, you know, statistics are not always what they seem, huh?
Arnold: The, this struggle continued. Hayakawa threatened to bring in scabs. Meanwhile, the villainous Glenn Dumke said, quote, “striking teachers will be regarded as having resigned if they stay out five days.” End quote. Nothing says, I'm not listening, when you say you want guaranteed procedures to mediate grievances, like saying, I'm gonna take your job away for voicing those grievances as a collective. [00:08:00] Dumke throwing down the hammer like this was a great reminder of why we'd gotten there to begin with. The overruling of former San Francisco State President Smith and the forced suspension of part-time teacher, George Murray.
Nicole: Yes. And Theodore Merriam made his disappointment known about what was going on. You know, cause how dare the faculty do this terrible thing, like fight for a better quality of life, huh? What jerks? He also is trying to counter accusations from Edward Lee, the only black member of the Board of Trustees, who was alleging that he was intentionally being kept out of the loop on negotiations. And we talked about this in the last podcast too. Meanwhile, Mayor Alioto's office was working on a master plan for state colleges that would bring them under control of local boards appointed by the governor. Alioto said, “it's my personal opinion that there ought to be home rule of state colleges.” [00:09:00]
Arnold: Now, this meant that the tide of public opinion was starting to turn. Alioto was in agreement with an editorial written by John Gilbaugh, who was Dean of San Jose State College that properly classified one of the main problems underlying both strikes, a master plan for higher education enacted by the California State Legislature in 1961 that gave the newly created board of State College trustees the authority to craft personnel policy.
Nicole: Yeah, and David was lovely to point that out in our first podcast on this. The Examiner was coming around too, stating it believed a sound settlement would establish, and I quote, “academically valid,” end quote, ethnic studies classes, and the “encouragement,” in quotes, of minority students to enroll in college. So, cooler heads and the voices of reason were starting to per, prevail, which is good because a very real fatigue was setting in. [00:10:00] There was also some skepticism about whether the AFT had enough power in San Francisco to see the strike across the finish line.
Arnold: Despite having support from the State Executive Committee of the Association of California State College Professors, it’s a long-winded committee name.
Nicole: So long.
Arnold: Despite having the support of that group and faculty at other campuses like San Jose, the will to strike was dwindling. Governor Reagan was also growing tired of this perpetual nuisance, telling California lawmakers to do whatever it takes to protect students who want to learn, and teachers who want to teach in the annual state of the state address. Although for the first time in memory of capital observers, a governor got booed when he was delivering a message to a joint session of the legislature.
Nicole: Yeah, now that feels commonplace cause that State of the Union address this week was an absolute riot like I've never seen before. So, but at the time this is like crazy stuff. [00:11:00] So, maybe, maybe there's still hope, right? If there's still some movement here, but things are starting to unravel. The San Francisco Superior Court repeatedly ordered AFT teachers to call off their strike, forcing faculty to fight a battle in court and on the picket lines. Making matters worse, it was often hard to tell the difference between faculty and students during demonstrations, which often kind of confused the message. And Reagan doubled down by calling everyone blackmailers. And George Murray was arrested again this time on a bogus probation violation. So, things are starting to get a little bit a lot.
Arnold: But there's also. building pressure for all parties to seriously negotiate. But no one wanted to be seen as the weaker party. Bishop Mark J. Hurley, chairman of the Citizens Committee on San Francisco State College, [00:12:00] said no one from the State College Trustees, college administration, city of San Francisco, the AFT, other teachers, BSU and TWLF would admit to negotiating. There was a quote, “atmosphere of distrust,” made worse by leaks to the press, which he chastised as inhibiting the progress.
Nicole: We’re giving Arnold all the hard parts today, So, one of the final big pushes from student protestors was a book-in at the library in late January 1969. And this is my absolute favorite part of the entire strike saga. Basically, their whole agenda was to clog up library operations by getting up to mischief. Newspapers reported their success saying, and I quote, “the college library is digging out of a book boggling drive by supporters of the AFT and the BSU and the TWLF.” They would do terrible things like switch books on [00:13:00] shelves. So terrible that police were patrolling the stacks, looking for book bogglers. And they arrested two for interfering with a lawful business. Were you one of the book bogglers, David?
David: No, I was not.
Arnold: Now this isn't to say things weren't dangerous at State at the time. Bombs had been detonated or found in several buildings on campus. With this kind of tension in play, police were pushing mass busts on campus in January. A student strike participant named Penny Nakatsu, remembered January 23rd, when over “500 people were caught within a human net.” End quote. By two lines of police that charged students as quote, “one of the bloodiest and most frightening day of the entire strike.” End quote. Hundreds of protestors were arrested, clogging up the local court system for months. And maybe, David, this is a good time to tell your story of [00:14:00] what happened to you during the strike.
David: Okay. I think it’s, it's relevant. I don't know Penny, but I've read her story. And I was actually a student at City College and I had graduated, I think, that day and walked down Holloway Street to San Francisco State, where I had already registered for class and attended a couple SDS meetings and just kind of followed the strike, but not, not participated. And so, I wanted to go see what was happening and I walked right into the bust. I mean, literally. I walked right in and I saw a couple people that I knew and the next thing we were totally surrounded. And it was, and I can vaguely remember looking out at the crowd around me who had, some of whom who had left before the tactical squad surrounded all of us. And I thought, why aren't they inside this circle? Why am I inside the circle and they're not? But now that was not my plan. My plan was not to go get arrested that day. It was just to observe and see what was happening. [00:15:00]
So, in the terminology of the day, which I know is not politically correct, the police used black mariahs or patty wagons and possibly even school buses to load all of us in and take us down to the Hall of Justice. Where I spent the night. Wasn't messed with at all and was bailed the next day by the strike committee. Just had to call up, gimme your name, whatever and the next day I was out. Now there was other people who didn't get out quickly. I was charged with unlawful assembly, refusing to disperse and disturbing the peace. And that was my legacy from that event. And I don't remember bloodshed. That's not to say it wasn't happening, but it certainly wasn't happening to me.
But it was a very, it was probably one of the more difficult moments in my life. Well, certainly up to that point. Only time I'd ever been arrested. And [00:16:00] I called my parents from jail, not telling 'em I was in jail and said, I'll be gone for a couple days. I'm visiting some friends. Years later, I told my mother the actual story. And she said to me, I wondered why those attorneys kept calling asking for you. And I said, mom, I didn't want you to worry. So, I was bailed the next day, but…
Nicole: You're like, I'm interested in quite a law school. I'm just doing some informational interviews.
David: Right. So, you know, in, in my short time there, you know, I would have to agree there wasn't, not everyone supported the strike, but a lot of the students were not in class. And I think in, later on you're gonna talk about the history department, and I'm not sure if that's entirely accurate, since I was a history major and even though I didn't attend any of my classes, I'm not sure how many of them were being held. So, just saying.
Nicole: You'll find out [00:17:00] where this podcast goes when we get to that listeners. It's pretty funny.
Arnold: And outta curiosity David, like what became of your case?
David: Well, that’s a good question Arnold, and I'll try to be brief. While I was deciding what I was gonna do with my future, because you have the draft and other things going on, I get this letter from the United States Postal Service that says, we would like to hire you as a mailman. And I said, great. So, they said that one thing you have to do is you have to go settle this court case. So, I went down to the Hall of Justice, had my paperwork together, paid my fine, got it squared away, and immediately started delivering the mail in Pacifica. So, that was how that went away. And I actually, to be perfectly honest, never went back to my classes, never went back to State College. That was the end of that era and it opened up a whole ‘nother door for me in my life, which is why I'm in Nashville. But that’s another story.
Nicole: That is another story [00:18:00] it's been told on another podcast, actually.
David: Parts of it, yes. And we won't go there today because we're talking about the strike. Which, I will say this, in doing my own research as well as yours, I think we've all agreed that this was a very seminal moment in the history. Not only of the movement, but also in the history of San Francisco politics. And just because, State College was the only four-year school within the city really, and it happened to be in the western neighborhoods. And a lot of people that I knew, yourself included, who went there later, that's where people went to school. So.
Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. We're, there's so many Gators out there, and you're so right David. This was a really complicated time and unique time in San Francisco politics. We also had a newly elected president, you know, the phenomenal Richard Nixon, who sent a four-man team led by Dr. Ralph Siu, director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Institute [00:19:00] of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice to, and I quote, “probe troubles,” end quote, at the college, and find, another quote, “new ways of reducing and preventing violence.” You know, Nixon liked to probe things. What am I gonna say? But the struggle continued. Despite Nixon's meddling, speaking to a rally convened by the community conference to support the S.F. State strike, Leroy Goodwin of the BSU said that capitalism made their strike hard to understand, since you can't have any principles in a capitalist society. And, it's interesting that colleges can, like when I went to college, all of my professors would talk about how like, they were all like Marxist by intellectual birth, you know? So, like that was part of the intellectual threads of this, along with you know, the freedom to have greater representation in [00:20:00] curriculum by black students along with these freedom marches. Like this is all, again, this very complicated intertwined story.
Arnold: So, while this is all going on, Hayakawa is hitting the national press circuit hard. He appears on CBS, Face the Nation, and other outlets. He claimed that professors supported student revolts because he believed quote, “alienation is a literary fashion among intellectuals.” End quote. Now, he's really on a roll there. Testifying before the subcommittee on the House of Education Committee. Hayakawa claimed protestors were trying to destroy society without any plan for a substitute. He said black students who weren't part of the strike were in danger of being attacked and that the strike was a danger to the nation and higher education. Maybe a little hyperbole there.
Nicole: Yeah. Hayakawa just really doubled down his messaging. Again, he praised himself for his swift use of police force on [00:21:00] campus saying, and I quote, “I believe I have introduced something new to this business of preserving order on campuses.” End quote, AFT President David Selen called it a, and I quote again, “mixture of fact and fiction.” And he accused the committee for picking a sensational witness for public effect. Which all adds up to Willie Brown being right on a quote, we heard in the last podcast, that “the best way to resolve the crisis at S.F. State was for Hayakawa to get out of the way.”
Arnold: With all this national attention came more pressure to resolve the strike. As we said earlier, teachers were embattled by court orders to end their strike, and the Board of Supervisors weighed in at the beginning of February 1969. The supervisor Jack Morrison asking for a resolution to urge the trustees to resume negotiations, a motion that was also supported by [00:22:00] Supervisor Terry A. Francois. And if you're wondering who Mr. Francois was, guess what? We have a podcast about him. Listen to episode number 413. A very important and an influential west side man.
Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. We definitely claim him cause he is one of our own. Now on February 24th, 1969, the AFT announced a tentative strike settlement that was sent to the State College Board of Trustees in Los Angeles for review and approval. The agreement included a resolution for the adoption of an emergency resolution that gave each college president the authority to restrict public events. Key to this compromise from the AFT was a panel of faculty members that would be allowed to weigh in on disciplinary actions brought against individual teachers by administrators. And Reagan is again throwing shade, saying that he didn't think any of these negotiations were legally authorized anyways, because of a [00:23:00] technicality, which a hundred percent turned out not to be correct. Thanks Reagan.
Arnold: The teachers, they agreed to return to campus only if the administration could guarantee them a negotiated piece with the students. And the student strike leaders did meet with faculty administration to discuss their 15 demands. Those were demands we read back in the first episode of this series. But in late February, early March 1969, words spread that faculty members, Dr. Nathan Hare and George Murray would not be returning. And Hayakawa announced that the Educational Opportunity Program would be temporarily suspended. These two actions threw a major wrench into this as they directly countered two of the very central BSU and TWLF demands.
Nicole: Yes, but lest everything look hopeless to you dear listeners, we can tell you that the strike was pulling into the station. [00:24:00] I don't know why I always use train metaphors, but I do. But not before there's one more burst of violence now. On March 5th, 1969, Timothy Peebles set off a bomb in the creative arts building and injured himself in the process. There was a big manhunt for his conspirator. And that same day, the members of the AFT teachers who were on strike returned to work after a 112 to 104 vote to officially end the strike, despite sort of an unsatisfactory compromise. The student strike was next to be resolved,
Arnold: And that came quickly. On March 20th, 1969, a settlement was signed by the TWLF, the BSU, and the Select Committee. And the strike was formally ended on March 21st, 1969. Benny Stewart and Jerry Varnado of the BSU announced the settlement to about 1200 [00:25:00] students in the cafeteria, the very place where George Murray's off-the-cuff comments about black students arming themselves, led to his suspension and triggered the strike in 1968. But Stewart was clear. He said, quote, “the strike is over, but the struggle is not.” End quote. However, the Examiner then eloquently reports quotes, “the campus was wet with rain and free of the turmoil that has torn students and faculty since the TWLF and the BSU first called their strike on November 6th.” End quote.
Nicole: Yeah, when the settlement was announced, Hayakawa was cagey and vague with the press about details of the agreement and he said, you know, like they'll be released to the public the next day. So, what were those details? Let's take a look at what the students asked for and what they actually got. Arnold, start us off with the first demand.
Arnold: Yeah. So, we're gonna go through these 15 demands and see what [00:26:00] got, what actually happened and what didn't they get.
Arnold: So, demand number one was that the BSU asked that all dispersed black studies courses be immediately transferred to an independent Black Studies department where all the instructors received full-time pay. And guess what? They mostly got that.
Nicole: Yeah, mostly got it. Number two, the BSU asked that Dr. Hare, as chairman of the Black Studies Department, receive a full professorship and compensation commensurate with his experience. In a tricky way, yes, he got this. Dr. Hare had been let go, but was eligible to be rehired by the new department chairman.
Arnold: The third demand that the BSU asked for was that the Black Studies Department issue bachelor's degrees and have sole discretion to hire faculty and determine the department's direction, and they did get this.
Nicole: Number four, the BSU asked that all unused slots for black students from fall 1968 under the [00:27:00] special admissions program, be filled by spring 1969. And yes, they got this.
Arnold: BSU's fifth demand was asking that all black students who wish to attend San Francisco State be admitted in the fall of 1969. And yes, they mostly got this, but there was a cap on admissions. But there was also, as well, a commitment to funding and staffing for the economic opportunity program.
Nicole: Number six, the BSU asked that the Department of Black Studies should have 20 full-time teaching positions, and yes, they got some of these positions, about 12.
Arnold: Number seven, the BSU asked that the financial aid officer, Dr. Helen Bedesom, be replaced by a black person since she oversaw unfair disbursement of funding. She wasn't replaced, but a black administrator was hired for the newly created position of associate director of financial aid.
Nicole: Number eight, the BSU asked that no disciplinary action will be [00:28:00] administered to any students, workers, teachers, or administrators during and after the strike as a consequence of their participation in the strike. And yes, they got this, and that would cause some problems.
Arnold: And we'll get to that. The, number nine, the BSU asked that the California State College trustees would not be allowed to dissolve any black programs on or off the San Francisco State campus. And they did not get this one. This resolution was not implemented.
Nicole: Okay. Number 10, the BSU asked that George Murray stay at S.F. State. So yes, again, in a tricky way, this was punted to a community advisory board created to oversee the Black Studies department, who could therefore later hire back George Murray.
Arnold: In their 11th demand, the TWLF asked that the creation of a School of Ethnic Studies be developed by students in each particular ethnic organization, who would then have authority [00:29:00] over hiring and retention of faculty and administrators, as well as the curriculum. And boy, did they get this.
Nicole: Yeah. Number 12, the TWLF asked that there be an appropriation of 50 faculty positions to the School of Ethnic Studies and reiterating the BSU demands earlier, 20 for the Black Studies Department. So again, tentatively yes. The positions were dependent on the future creation of the department, which did happen. So that's a hard yes.
Arnold: Number 13, the TWLF asked for the admission of all non-white students that applied to the college in the spring semester of 1969. Those students did in fact get admitted.
Nicole: Number 14, the TWLF asked for admission of all non-white students that applied to the college in the fall semester of 1969. Yes, same outcome as BSU demand number 5.
Arnold: And the 15th and final demand that the [00:30:00] TWLF asked for was that all faculty positions chosen by non-white people be retained, including George Murray. And this was kind of similar to their demand number 10. And yes, they got that, albeit Murray had to be, go through a process.
Nicole: Yeah, in a funny way. So, there were also 11 additional resolutions that came outta this settlement that, among other things, created a diverse committee to deal with charges of racism at S.F. State, required the withdrawal of police from campus, and held the administration accountable to expediting the adoption of resolutions in the agreement, as well as the resolution of future demands. No more protracted strikes, right? With all this in place, leadership for the newly created Black Studies department had to create an entirely new curriculum from scratch within a matter of a few short months. And they did it. The department was ready to teach [00:31:00] its first cohort of students by fall of 1969.
Arnold: So, of course, this agreement lands on the desk of S.I. Hayakawa. So, what do you think, does he sign it? On March 22nd, the acting president and we'll say it, complete idiot, Dr. S.I. Hayakawa declined to sign this agreement. He did not agree with the resolution which would grant amnesty to the strike participants. So, congratulations Hayakawa, you held onto your tough guy opposition to unrest on campus and lost the only shot you had at redeeming yourself in this history.
Nicole: Podcast listeners, you should know when we research, you know, like we kind of know how, we know where we end up, right? Cause we're in the future, but we don't really know how we get there. And this was one of those moments where I was researching and I was like, oh, you absolute jerk. Like, I can't believe you didn't sign this darn thing. Oh, good luck with your successful life after [00:32:00] this. So, there you have it. To this day, the San Francisco State strike is the longest student-led strike in the history of American higher education. And this happened in your backyard Outside Landers. Its ongoing legacy is one of the nation's first ever Black Studies program and the College of Ethnic Studies, one that has been emulated across the country, as Native American studies, Asian American studies, Women's studies and Gay and Lesbian studies have become ubiquitous.
Arnold: And we say one of the nation's first black study programs, cause, as we mentioned back in the first episode, there were, in fact, over in Oakland already…
Arnold: Programs happening in colleges. Meanwhile, the student population at San Francisco State was largely white and middle class in the 1960s. Now, by the time Nicole graduates in 1968 or… [00:33:00]
Nicole: 1968? I look great for my age.
David: You look great.
Arnold: When she graduates in 2008. The BIPOC students comprised more than 70% of the student body there. Overall, we think you can say that was certainly a success. But the settlement required several compromises to demands that students and faculties had maintained throughout the strike had, were non-negotiable. So why did they compromise?
Nicole: Yeah, as we had said, support from outside groups was crucial to gaining a wider audience, but it also complicated things, as messaging overlapped and other priorities and, you know, usage of the publicity they were getting sort of took precedence. And the movement lost a clear sense of leadership, at least in the public eye. And also, the heat was on, you know. The day after the AFT announced a tentative agreement, the Senate Judiciary Committee in Sacramento passed a bill to the [00:34:00] floor that called for mandatory jail sentences for and I quote, “persistent campus troublemakers.” Which is straight out of the Reagan vocabulary.
Arnold: And David, aren't you glad you didn't receive one of those mandatory jail sentences?
David: Yes, but I do know from researching the history of it that a number of people served over a year in jail. And it, I'm sure it wasn't easy for them. And reading their, some of their stories online, it's, it's extremely difficult. And, and I said this before and not to, this was not a, in the history of the American people, obviously the incarceration of Japanese-Americans was not one, uou know, great moments. But it keeps, I'm, I come back to whether if Hayakawa, who was teaching at the Illinois Institute of Technology, if for some reason that had happened to him, I wonder if his perspective on the strike and using force and all of that had been different. But, you know, I, that just crossed my mind and I thought [00:35:00] I wanted to say that. The other thing I would say is after the 500 people were arrested, there was no guarantee that they weren't gonna arrest 500 the next day or the next day, and the next. I think they just, they, the powers that be, the trustees, Reagan, they just made a decision, this is what we're gonna do and we're gonna put an end to this. And that's what they did.
Nicole: Yeah, absolutely. I thought about that a lot throughout this whole research of like what the, what this must have been like for Hayakawa as a Japanese-American man. Like having to control what was going on in campus. Unfortunately, he kept picking the wrong path in my personal opinion. And…
David: He's actually born in Canada, believe it or not.
Nicole: Oh, right. Yeah. Thank you for reminding me. Like, just very, just everything is so complicated, right? Which we're gonna get into when we talk about the perspective of the history majors on campus. But Arnold, maybe you can let us know what were other students on campus, how were they feeling about this strike? [00:36:00]
Arnold: Yeah, so the majority of the student body was not really down for kind of a elongated agitation process of this strike. A poll was conducted by the American Association of University Professors on campus around, as the strike entered its last month. The poll showed that a majority of students were in support of the campus staying open throughout the strike. They attended classes regularly and would be enrolling in the next semester regardless of this crisis on the campus.
Nicole: Also, a majority supported neither the AFT strike, nor the student strike, although that was by a pretty thin margin of a few percentage points. What we wanna know is this though. What is happening with the 17.9% of students who said they had no idea there was a strike happening? I mean, David, you set foot on campus for 30 seconds and you were arrested.
David: Yeah, I think that's a bogus number [00:37:00] personally, but I wasn't there to do the, you know, a poll.
Nicole: I also didn't research the American Association of University professors to see like where their political allegiance is laid at the time. But that was wild to me. I was like, you really, although I did meet a lot of people at my time at State who were very much like, not engaged with stuff, but that seems pretty wild.
David: It'd be hard to imagine missing, you know, mounted police officers on horses coming down Holloway Avenue, or you know, several hundred tactical squad in the, on the common every day. That would be a little difficult to miss, I would think.
Nicole: And you know, bombs going off and you can't just remote in. There's no telecommuting in 1960s.
David: I can’t take a book outta the library. It's not there. Oh, it got somewhere else there in the stacks.
Nicole: A book boggling.
Arnold: And here's the thing. Polls they have to be scientifically conducted to be accurate. So, we don't know what these people, who they were going to talk to. Are [00:38:00] they talking to kids who are in classes? Are they talking to people who are out on the picket line? You know, who were they talking to when they took this poll?
Nicole: It's true. Things are crazy. Things are wild. It's hard to collect data. With all this going on, you know, it's a complicated situation as we've repeatedly mentioned throughout this entire podcast series. And as Dr. Walcott Beatty, chairman of the S.F. State College Academic Senate at the time said, and I quote, “this campus is a microcosm of society.” End quote.
Arnold: So, what does this all mean for society? In 2021, Penny Nakatsu said it best, quote, “ethnic studies is a way of embracing all of the cultures that make up the world. If we don't understand each other, how are we going to get along? Ethnic studies is something that's important, not just for people of color, so we know about our histories and cultures and destinies, but also for all people.” End quote.
Nicole: Absolutely. The curriculum [00:39:00] that has emerged from the strike is more vital than ever. And the fight is not over. We live in an America that is so divided and suffers from a plague of misinformation. A plague that has created a wave of censorship that threatens not only the fabric of our democracy, but the survival of our collective humanity. With every book that is banned, every textbook that is air quotes, “corrected.” to serve a political agenda, we lose our grip on objective truths.
Arnold: And I wanna note here, we're living in a time period now where, in other states who will remain nameless, they are actually banning some of these studies so that you cannot learn, you know, the history of slavery, for instance, or other things like that. And that to me seems, it seems criminal, actually. But you know, this is what's going on in this country right now, 50 years after we [00:40:00] got the right to study these things. So now it's going the opposite way. And I hope this is a minor blip in history, but that fight is still ongoing now.
Nicole: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. It's a really scary it's a really scary time. But we can learn from history, right? And with this in mind, we do keep turning to the words of historian Jason Ferrera, who said and I quote, “the inability of this country to come to terms with the ongoing practices of racism and white supremacy speaks to the demands of the Third World Liberation Front and the Black Student Union for an education that was relevant and transformative. It's still an uphill battle, but we’ll win.” End quote.
Arnold: Very wise words.
Arnold: And Nicole, I have one question for you.
Nicole: What's that?
Arnold: Say what now?
Nicole: Yes. Not to transition out of that like [00:41:00] deeply profound quote into something that's moderately ridiculous. But we're sure that throughout this entire podcast you've been like, what's going on with the history department at S.F. State during the strike? And don't worry, the Examiner had the same thought and asked, and I quote, “what is there about the study of history that makes historians so cool? So non-activist. Or is that statement even true?”
Arnold: So, as it turns out, as faculty and students from other humanities disciple disciplines took part in the strike en masse, the same was maybe not true for those engaged in the study of history. Although I think David pointed out that maybe this is wrong, Maybe the history department functioned almost to a hundred percent through the strike. Dr. Ray Kelch, who was the head of the department at the time, confirmed only one teacher was out on strike, [00:42:00] and attendance in the classes was about 80%. Like any rational historian, he said, quote, “it would be almost impossible to pinpoint reasons for this.” End quote. But he didn't believe that this meant historians were conservative or cynical, just pragmatic.
Arnold: He continued quote, “I think perhaps it's because we take a longer perspective. A study of history tends to view life as a continuing drama and contemporary life as only one scene in that drama. We do not believe, ever believe that there's one cause for anything in society.” End quote.
Nicole: Kelch also rejected the idea that historians were escapists in love with the past. He said, and I quote, “on the contrary, historians are realists. They know what has happened down through the centuries, and what is likely to happen today. That's why they aren't revolutionaries.” Which is a long way of saying, please everybody, become history [00:43:00] majors. Okay? Young students, I know you're like, I should go into computers, which you probably should cause it's a much more lucrative career. But the dec, decide, the discipline. We can't say that word today. The discipline is declining on campuses around the country. Like, believe me, historian folks get around to dinner parties and just talk about how their relevance is waning. But the world needs more magnetism and more and more people who study this kind of stuff are being asked to weigh in and help us all understand what's going on in the world. So, become a history major But also, you should strike if there's a strike for important things like these on campus in the future.
Arnold: Yes, as the statement always goes, those who refuse to learn history are doomed to repeat it. David?
David: Just one thing that I mentioned, we talked about earlier, I think in the first [00:44:00] podcast. Back in ‘62, when a group of students took over the Associated Students and student fees, and they started the tutoring program. You know, and we talk about the comprehensive plan for higher ed, well, if you look back on it, and again, we talked about this in the first podcast, if the property tax investment, you know, in education, had been basically the same across the state. The percentage of minority students might have been a lot greater in, I mean, again, maybe in the later ‘60s and maybe the, it would've been a larger, more larger group of the population. And then the strike may have been viewed differently. But you know, it all goes back to that, they weren't funded adequately. So, you had to have tutors go into the Western Edition, Bayview, Hunters Point, wherever, Potrero Hill, and tutor these children who weren't getting adequate education. So again, the sources of why all this came to pass. And again, it did affect. thousands of [00:45:00] people's lives. I mean, obviously for me, institutional racism was not something that I sat around the dinner table and talked about with my parents. You know and I think you know, many of us got that firsthand education right there on campus during that times.
Nicole: So, absolutely David. So again, we're gonna leave a very poignant comment and head into something sillier. It's time for listener mail. Okay, Arnold, did anybody write us listener mail?
Arnold: Indeed. Not only did somebody write us some listener mail, but they wrote in about this series of podcasts. And that's our good friend Kevin, who remembered the strike. He wrote in to say quote, “I remember driving along Holloway during a lunch break at City College, seeing the cadres of out-of-town police departments hanging around on the lawns of the southern perimeter, waiting to be called in. As David pointed out, [00:46:00] we knew some of the police involved. I don't know if the first call for police intervention went to the local SFPD Ingleside Station. If it did, my uncle Bill Conroy was captain there. This may take a bit of research to confirm. Another classmate of mine's father was a charter member of the TAC squad. Those were the days my friend. Keep up the great work.” End quote. Thank you so much, Kevin.
Nicole: Yeah, those were the days when the west side of San Francisco was still mostly blue collar. So if you have ideas for future episodes or something came to mind while listening to this podcast, like you remembered you were also at the State, at the S.F. State strike, then drop us a line by emailing email@example.com or leave us a message on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. That's outsidelandz with a Z.
Arnold: And better than just leaving us a message about [00:47:00] one of these podcasts, how about becoming a member of the Western Neighborhoods Project. And be, before I get into the various benefits of this, David, I think you had something to say about the benefits of becoming a member.
David: Nicole's got, you can't see this, but Nicole has her hand over her face. What, what I was gonna say is every time I listen to one of these podcasts, especially ones that I'm not in, we talk about the benefits of the organization. And one of the things that I've found in my time here is that you get to hang out with a really high-level quality of people who are, you're going, you're saying to yourself, how come I didn't know these people years ago? You know? Because not only are they interested in history, they're actually really good people individually. So that's what I wanted to say. I mean, there's the benefit, you know, there's John Martini, Paul Judge, and all the stuff you can do. And tours and this various things that we're involved in, like saving the Alexandria Theater, which I would love to do at some point, but that's another story. But you get to hang with a bunch [00:48:00] of really nice folks and who are very good. So, that's what I wanted to say about that.
Arnold: So, become a member and hang with really cool folks.
David: Yeah, there you go. Cutting edge.
Nicole: I have to say, no one's ever called me cool in my entire life. So…
David: Well, first time for everything, Nicole.
Nicole: Yes. In addition to hanging with cool people, your membership supports, I'm sorry, I'm not belittling that really sweet thing you just did, David, I'm so sorry. But in addition to, to, access to really cool people sounds terrible. Your membership supports all the really good work these cool people do together. So, it supports the OpenSFHistory archive. It supports the care and exhibition of the Cliff House collection, which is remarkably expensive, you guys. And it supports this podcast, which of course we don't make you pay a dime for. So, [00:49:00] please donate. You just clickety, clickety clack the big orange buttons at the top of any page on our website, and you can choose your own adventure in how much you pay us. Any of it is very much appreciated. We're the tiniest nonprofit. It makes an impact.
Arnold: That's donations. But if you've become a member…
Nicole: Oh yeah.
Arnold: You can also do, with the big orange button at the top of every website page. You get the quarterly membership magazine. You get discounts and events and other perks. So, whether it's a donation or a membership, please join with us.
Nicole: Yeah. Become part of the family. And right now, we're gonna run through a whole bunch of announcements that keep you in touch with what's going on in the WNP life. And we're gonna start with something really, really sad. This is maybe something I should have put at the end of the announcements, but here we are. So, we're very sad to pass along the news that our dear friend, John Lindsey is [00:50:00] being forced to close the Great Highway Gallery after his landlord refused to negotiate a 50% increase in his lease. Now, in an effort to document this living history, we'll have him on the podcast soon. And we're also asking you folks to submit their memories of how John and his gallery have had an impact on them and the neighborhood. Now, we're not an advocacy organization in general, and we're certainly not gonna start stumping for a contemporary Art Gallery not to go. There has been a grassroots movement to get district supervisor, Joel Engardio to step in, and boy, that message was received, although not successful. So, again, if you're interested in sharing memories or getting information on how you can help John, email firstname.lastname@example.org. And on March 11th, if this, this Hail Mary doesn't work out, he's having an epic party and he needs to send, he needs to sell every single [00:51:00] piece of art on his walls, y'all. So, at the very least, I hope we see you at 43rd and Lawton, at Great, at the Great Highway Gallery all day until the last person leaves on March 11th.
Arnold: But in happier news, we have events coming up on our public program calendar.
Arnold: So, check out our Eventbrite site or our events page on the outsidelands.org website. Tickets to our three upcoming history walks with John Martini in March and April are going very fast.
Arnold: So, get yours now so you can toodle along with us at the Presidio Main Post, the Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park and Mountain Lake. Tickets are $10 for WNP members, $20 for non-members. So, reserve your ticket, again on our website or find us on Eventbrite.
Nicole: That felt like on the news when they're like, we're reading you very horrible, serious news story. Then you're like, and next up, [00:52:00] puppies. Speaking of puppies, I mean, emails. We're not giving you any puppies with an email. I'm, I need to put that out there. No, we need you to complete our audience survey, which we'll be emailing you periodically this month. And I know it's too like, ah, geez, another email. It's asking me to do something. It really will only take a few minutes of your time, and it really helps us to know who you are, what you like, and what we can improve, so we can continue to do bigger and better things together. And to sweeten the pot, everyone who completes the survey will have a chance to receive one free year of WNP membership. That's worth at least $50
Arnold: And we should note there are many people have already answered this survey. We've gotten a lot of responses already. But the more people we hear from, the better the results will be in terms of helping us determine how to present the [00:53:00] best history to you.
Nicole: Yes. Remember what we said about polls earlier? Yeah. It only works if enough people submit responses. So, Arnold, what's the preview for next week?
Arnold: Next week, you are having a very interesting conversation with preservation activist and longtime WNP member, Richard Rothman, to talk about his life as a crusader for overlooked murals and historic buildings.
Nicole: Yeah, Richard's the best. But if I might be so bold, not as great as David Friedlander.
David: You know what folks out there listening in listener land? You may even get to be on a podcast. How cool is that? Did I ever think I was gonna be on a podcast with two people I never knew before? Six months, two years ago? No. Well, here I am today. Thank you very much.
Arnold: That's be, that’s becausecause [00:54:00] you started hanging out with cool people at the Western Neighborhoods Project.
David: Well, that sounds like it came from some like 37-year-old. Sorry, Nicole.
Nicole: I'm not comfortable.
David: I dunno where that came from, cool people. I don't. It just came, out of the, you know, mouth. It just…
Nicole: That's okay. I mean, the San Francisco Chronicle in 1969 also described historians as cool people. So.
David: Maybe that's where I got it from. Thank you.
Nicole: Oh gosh, say goodnight, Gracie
David: Or Chet. Goodnight Chet.
Arnold: Night, David. Good night.
Nicole: Thank you everybody. We'll see you next week.
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.