12 jan 1968 & eastern hs cafeteria boycott
#OTD Friday 12 January 1968 the Modern Strivers, a student group at Eastern High School, led a boycott in the cafeteria to protest the unappetizing food options and to open up a larger conversation about classism, racism, student rights and excellent education within the school and the Board of Education.
500 students usually ate lunch in the cafeteria. Today only ~50 did. They boycotted "stale" and "repetitious" food and they demanded that the "Cadillac of cookers" steamer (pictured above), that had been sitting unused for two years in the cafeteria because the school couldn't afford to install it, be installed.
Modern Strivers members, totaling 25-40, include Dale Ashton, Willis Brooks, Norman Chichester, Shumbey Lacuma and Gregory Taylor (president).
The 17 January story will cover the Modern Strivers' next set of demands. To learn more about high school activism, click here.
Your comments are welcome below. Were you a member of the Modern Strivers? Did you participate in the boycott? Did you attend Eastern? You may also comment privately here.
Photo source: Courtesy DCPL Special Collections, 12 January 1968, photographer unknown.
Mattie Jones & Phillip White, "Coming Up From a Black Thing," National History Day Project, 2016. Both are Eastern HS graduates. I thank them and Cosby Hunt for sharing their work with me.
Ari Pomerantz, "Shule Ya Uhuru :The "Modern Strivers" and D.C.'s Eastern High School Freedom Annex," 2011.