[50] The returning teachers were told to go to an auditorium to meet with Unit Administrator McCoy. [40][51] Outsiders appreciated the Black school board's attempt to regain control over its own school system. [25] Some groups allied with the civil rights movement and Black Liberation struggles moved towards the creation of independent African Schools, including The East's Uhuru Sasa Shule in Bedford-Stuyvesant. [37], Some members of the school community, as well as the New York Civil Liberties Union,[72] accused Shanker of playing up antisemitism to win sympathy and support. The union also championed individualist values and meritocracy. ISBN 9780812248500. Lester replied "No. [41], In April 1968, the administration sought additional control over personnel, finance, and curriculum. [72], The strike ended on November 17, 1968, when the New York State Education Commissioner asserted state control over the Ocean Hill–Brownsville district. [11], In the years before the strike, Brownsville's schools had become extremely overcrowded, and students were attending in shifts. The UFT opposed the new principals denounced the Ocean Hill–Brownsville curriculum, saying that awareness of one's racial heritage would not be helpful in the job market. The reading skills of the district's eighth graders were shown to have barely improved by the end of their time in ninth grade. © 2021 New York Public Radio. [77] When school opened in September 1969, the school district shut itself down for a day in protest of new regulations that deprived it of further autonomy. This termination of employment is to take effect immediately. [36] McCoy was reported to be influenced by the Harold Cruise book The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual and to believe Jews had too much influence in the civil rights movement. [58] Under the terms of the decentralization agreement, the teachers were returned to the control of the New York City public school system, where they sat idle in the school district offices. ), On May 15, 300 police officers, including at least 60 in plainclothes, cordoned off the school (making five arrests), effectively breaking the parent blockade and allowing the teachers to return. Nixon, running on a campaign that promised to restore law and order to cities torn by riots and crime, won the Presidential Election. [30] Scholars have agreed with Shanker's assessment that "the whole alliance of liberals, blacks and Jews broke apart on this issue. A series of citywide strikes at the start of the 1968 school year shut down the public schools for a total of 36 days. [30], Rhody McCoy, the new superintendent of the board, began working as a substitute teacher in 1949. [31] All rights reserved. [2] The district's third graders were shown to have fallen from four months behind before community control to twelve months behind after it. arrow Minutes before he was speaking out in favor of removing troops from Vietnam: A survey taken by the Washington Square Journal that year found that 75% of NYU students have tried marijuana at least once. Picking up the pieces: Americans survey the damage after the sixth night of riots across the US that saw 50 Secret Service agents injured in DC, looters trash stores in NYC … He worked in the city's public school system ever since, as a teacher and then principal of a special needs school. The incident further divided the Black and Jewish Communities. The strike pitted community against union, highlighting a conflict between local rights to self-determination and teachers' universal rights as workers. Washington, DC, took decades to recover from the 1968 riots. This action was taken on the recommendation of the Personnel Committee. [6] Furthermore, Brownsville was frequently ignored by Black civil rights organizations such as the NAACP and Urban League[7] whose Brooklyn chapters were based in nearby Bedford-Stuyvesant and were overall less concerned with the issues of the lower income Blacks who had moved into Brownsville, thus further isolating Brownsville's population. [19], Reports on the 1967–1968 school year were generally positive. [16][17] The TU, which contained active socialist and communist members campaigned actively for racial equality, desegregation, and other radical political goals. [40], Teachers were taken aback by the level of control exercised by the school board, and many objected to the board's new policies concerning personnel and curriculum. [56][57] On June 20, these 350 strikers were also dismissed by the governing board. "[2], From the 1880s through the 1960s, Brownsville was predominantly Jewish and politically radical. [68] During the strike, the UFT distributed an official pamphlet called "Preaching Violence Instead of Teaching Children in Ocean Hill-Brownsville", citing a lesson that advocated Black separatism. We're coming up on … While the local Black population viewed it as empowerment against what it saw as an intransigent white bureaucracy, the teachers' union and other unions saw it as union busting—a reduction in the collective bargaining power of the union who would now have to deal with 33 separate, local bodies, rather than a central administration. [49] The teachers were nearly unanimously Jewish. [36], On May 9, 1968, the administration requested the transfer of 13 teachers and 6 administrators from Junior High School 271. As much as the 1960s was a time of vibrancy, culture, and wealth, it was also a time when little cracks started to slip into the background of daily life, usually left unnoticed, warning of the collapse to come. Pent-up frustrations boiled over in many poor African-American neighborhoods during the mid- to late-1960s, setting off riots that rampaged out of control from block to block. [43] The boycotts coincided with unrest due to the April 4 assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.[44][45] During disturbances in JHS 271 three teachers were injured. If successful, the experiment could have led to citywide decentralization. Cole Wilson for The New York Times Today, the dominant image of Columbia 1968 may still be of mostly white radicals hanging out the windows of the occupied buildings. This was the real front page headline of the NY Times on that day, but the first half carries a hint of wishful thinking, as 1968 was marked with demonstrations, more racial tension, and assassinations. [19] Shanker distributed 500,000 copies of a pamphlet some of his members found behind the schools in dispute worded "THE IDEA BEHIND THIS PROGRAM IS BEAUTIFUL, BUT WHEN THE MONEY CHANGERS HEARD ABOUT IT, THEY TOOK OVER, AS IS THEIR CUSTOM IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY"[37], On December 26, 1968, Julius Lester on WBAI radio interviewed Leslie Campbell a history teacher who read a poem written by one of his students entitled "Antisemitism: Dedicated to Albert Shanker" that began with the words "Hey, Jewboy, with that yarmulke on your head / You pale-faced Jew boy – I wish you were dead." Mayor Lindsay was in charge—revisit his Fun City years, The city was still rolling out air conditioned subway cars—, For nine days in February, the city stinks of garbage during. By 1950, their numbers had doubled. On September 9, 1968 93% of the city's 58,000 teachers walked out. The King-assassination riots, also known as the Holy Week Uprising, was a wave of civil disturbance which swept the United States following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968. LOCAL HISTORY & GENEALOGY 115 South Avenue, Rochester, NY 14604 585-428-8370 Fax 585-428-8353 Rochester’s Riots and Race Relations Research Guide SCOPE This guide is intended to assist in locating materials and information in the Rochester Public Library [50], Parents in Brownsville generally supported the governing board. [46] Mayor John Lindsay issued a statement countermanding the district's decision and condemning "anarchy and lawlessness". [39], However, the district still relied on the school board for funding, and many of its requests (e.g., for a telephone and new library books) were reportedly met slowly if at all. He argues that the shift in coalitions after the 1968 strike pushed New York City to the political right for decades to come—in part because race came to eclipse class as the main axis of social conflict. The poem then goes on to say the author is sick about hearing about the Holocaust because it lasted only 15 years compared to the 400 years blacks had been suffering. The school's performance was low from the outset, with most students testing below grade level in reading and math, and few advancing to the city's network of elite high schools. [21], Membership in the American Federation of Teachers, the national union of which the UFT is a part, had increased dramatically during the 1960s, as had the rate of teachers' strikes. [36], Educational stratification in elementary schools was reduced. [42] When the city did not grant these powers, the district's parents initiated a boycott of the schools. The subway fare was 20 cents (it is raised to 30 cents in 1970). 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