Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)

Degree Name



African-American Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Richard A. Long


The objectives of this thesis are to examine the events and issues which were a part of the strike against San Francisco State College during the 1968-1969 academic year. Led by the Black Students Union, students and faculty joined forces against local San Francisco State administrators, the trustees of the college, the Chancellor, and Governor Reagan, those, students and faculty charged were not being responsive to their needs. San Francisco State faculty complained that their rights were being usurped by their governing board. Students wanted the college to be more responsive to the times of a fast- changing world. The Black Students Union's charge was racism.

The Black Students Union's demand for a Black Studies Department, under the guise of control, and by extension, freedom, at a time when the cry for "Black Power” was being reverberated all over the country, makes the activities at State particularly important. The implications of State's 1968-1969 strike is especially important when one considers the aims of the larger Black Liberation Movement to rid the country of racism and all forms of injustice. It was at San Francisco State that the first notion of a Black Studies Department at a pre-dominantly white campus was heard. It was at State that a protracted struggle, with the aid of thousands of faculty, students and members of the adjacent communities, was waged. In spite of the daily encampment of several hundred police, and the insistence by Governor Reagan that the campus remain open, the student-faculty coalition succeeded in bringing the normal activities of the college to a screeching halt.

After four months of "non-negotiable" demands by Black and Third World students, as well as those from the faculty, the strike ended. With the strike’s end, a Black- Studies Department was officially established. However, those most instrumental in initiating and maintaining the strike were either imprisoned or run out of the state. With the rights enjoyed by faculty and students before the strike substantively harnessed with the strike's end, Reagan and his allies seemed to have scored the last and greatest victory. But strike strategists argue that although repressive measures launched by the state legislature and San Francisco local administrators seriously undermined many of the basic strike issues, they argue that the radicalization of thousands of faculty and students made the four-month long struggle worth it all.