4 november 1968 & howard u students protest tear gassing by white police officers
“No white police on black property.”
Howard University students protesting white police on campus
#OTD 4 November 1968 Howard University students organize a strike to protest tear gassing of students on campus two days earlier. On Saturday 2 November, Howard University students protested the shooting and injury of Nannie Haskins and Eva Walker by a white police officer, near 14th and Chapin Sts NW. On that same day, co-eds, including whites, were attending a play on campus at the Ira Aldridge Theater. Several students demanded that the play be suspended and that the white co-eds return to their respective campuses considering the police violence. Someone called the police, twenty-four squad cars and 3 police trucks were deployed. They arrived in ‘riot gear’ and tear gassed students. Students shouted “No white police on black property.”
The flyer about the student strike states:
SATURDAY NIGHT HOWARD UNIVERSITY MALE AND FEMALE STUDENTS WERE TEAR-GASSED BY RACIST D.C. POLICE IN FRONT OF ON CAMPUS MALE DORMITORY COOK HALL.
LET US UNITE IN OUR OPPOSITION TO INDISCRIMINATE OPPRESSION OF BLACK PEOPLE BY THE POLICE.
OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS FROM FEDERAL CITY COLLEGE SUPPORT US.”
The one-day strike included calls for:
Outline structures for first aid centers at Howard “to be used whenever the city police cause riots and deny our people medication.
Organize for freedom schools and community centers staffed by students who get paid and receive course credit.
Act as a power block to get administration to enforce the rule.
E. Ethelbert Miller, a freshman at Howard University, remembers the tear gassing and police violence vividly He saved this copy of the Hilltop newspaper, which featured an article about the police violence.
Your comments are welcome below. Did you, family members or neighbors participate in the strike? Were you tear gassed? Were you involved in the creation of the flyer? Did you attend the play, Langston Hughes’ Simply Heavenly, at Ira Aldridge? Do you have a ticket stub, program or poster? You may comment privately here.
Photo source: Courtesy of DC Office of Public Records and Archives, Record Group 23, which contains the Records of the Office of Emergency Preparedness. Demonstrations, Civil Disturbances and Special Events, 1965, 1968-1978. 4 November 1968. These are essentially police surveillance records. I thank Bill Branch, Archivist, for his assistance.
I thank E. Ethelbert Miller for sharing his original Hilltop newspapers with me, and for sharing stories and contacts.