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tv   1968 San Francisco State College Student Strike  CSPAN  December 19, 2018 11:28pm-1:02am EST

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a public service by america's cable television company. and today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house the supreme court, and public policy event in washington dc and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. in 1968 students at san francisco state college went on strike to protest the lack of diversity in admissions and course curricula. history professor william hessel talked about the lasting impact of the strike and how it was settled in 1969. this is an hour and a half. >> it is my pleasure to introduce our speaker today, bill is so. he is a professor of history emeritus at san francisco
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state university. he has also served as a fulbright professor of american history in england, hungary and romania. in 2015-2016 academic year he was the john mcginty distinguished chair in history at solebury regina university. bill is especially interested in the role of religion in american and european politics and the social and cultural history of american and american cities. in 1986 his book co-authored with robert turney, san francisco, politics, power and urban development was hailed as a major achievement. it set the agenda for studying san francisco politics. his recent books for both cross and flag and church and state in the city have been praised as illuminating and pathbreaking. in 2017 he received the distinguished scholarship award of the american catholic
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historical association. bill' lex lecture today is drawn from his 2015 prize- winning catholic studies article and is part of a larger project, a book on the competition between the catholic church and the communist party in european and american cities from the russian revolution to befall of the berlin wall. let's have a nice usf welcome for professor issel . [ applause ] >> thank you very much, chris for that very nice welcome. and i am very pleased to also thank several of my colleagues and friends in the audience who for the last many decades have inspired and supported my research and i'm very proud to be part of the network of scholars when considering our
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guiding lights in many respects. thank you to the university of san francisco as well and the san francisco museum and historical society for the invitation. one of kevin's gifts to us was to help spread the word about how contests over competing visions helped shape the california dream. kevin also help spread the word about how california contests have sometimes also been directly and explicitly inspired by international trends and transnational visions. i would like to honor kevins memory here today by taking another look at just such a contest. the black power, black
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nationalism spot inspired strike at san francisco state college in 1968 and 1969. during the late 1960s, many advocates of black power rejected american liberalism and adopted the fighting words up a transnational event. the anti-colonial movement, the afro asia and latin movement, they declare the necessity of a black revolution and a third world revolution by any means necessary. including guerrilla war and the seizure of power in black and third world communities. this state of war would continue until their
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nonnegotiable demands, first and foremost, self- determination of african- american and third world communities were met. and the white power structure surrendered what today would be called it's white privilege. my focus today is to show how another set of words, words of dignity, respect, recognition and reconciliation brought the strike to an end. with measurable gains to the students strikers. these were the words of mark j hurley. and san francisco auxiliary bishop inspired by another transnational event, the second vatican council in 1960 two- 1965.
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hurley helped reduced violence by speaking. it was 134 days, the longest in us history. he also triggered the settlement of the strike. he faced the settlement on the principal that had been recently reiterated by doctor martin luther king jr. and by pope paul the sixth. james and his letter from the birmingham jails and the pope from his insignia on the development of peoples. what was the principal genuine peace is not just the absence of violence or fear of tension. it is instead the day-to-day practice by all of us of making
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sure justice is available to all of us. let's first take a lookat bishop mark j. hurley and catholic san francisco. hurley's role in minimizing violence on campell and brokering the settlement came to end by virtue of his being a consummate insider. and what was then the largest catholic population in san francisco. he was born in 1919 one of five children of a father born in massachusetts to immigrant parents and a mother born in ireland. marks brother also entered the priesthood eventually and became archbishop of anchorage alaska. the hurley family worshiped at saint agnes church and mark graduated from public school from a published school and
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then he attended st. joseph's college, st. patrick's college and then st. patrick's seminary. he was ordained in 1944, spent an academic year at berkeley studying educational theory and administration, also being assistant superintendent of schools for the archdiocese. then, hurley moved across the country to the catholic university of san francisco and washington dc. his phd came in 1947 and two years later, catholic university published his dissertation on church-state relations and how they affected education in the state of california. hurley was one of the brightest stars in a constellation of young priests hand-picked by archbishop john j minting or leadership roles in what he
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called his catholic action crusade. this was a time when as monsignor john quincy ellis wrote, san francisco archdiocese send more graduate students to the catholic university than any other dioceses in the nation. one of archbishop's many catholic action initiatives was the education apostolate and hurley took a leading role, beginning in 1944. in addition to a year as a teacher at sarah high school, hurley served seven years as founding principal of the bishop o'dowd high school, and then two years as founding principal of maren catholic in kentfield.
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in 1962 the year he was named monsignor vape pope john xxiii, he became parodist expert to the vatican council serving on seminaries universities and schools until the end of the council 1965. then, hurley began a system chancellor and vicar general at the archdiocese. by 1961, until 1967 when he was in town, hurley participated with rabbi alvin fine and episcopal bishop kilburn myers in apostle local tv show called problems. where hurley became known as "the young fulton sheen" for what one of his fans called his
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wit, warmth, brilliance and striking appearance. hurley himself boasted that his january 1968 consecration as auxiliary bishop marked the first time that protestant and orthodox churchmen were accorded equal rank with the catholic in such an events. early interpreted this as "part of a new humanism stirred in the catholic church by the vatican council" he was one of the countries leading priests and then directed a social active department of the us catholic counsel, preached a sermon at hurley's first pontifical mass. hurley was part of a larger network that included both
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religious and activists whose work from the 1930s through the 1960s imparted a distinctive catholic slant through the san francisco political culture. ms. idaho became the first bishop of stockton after serving as auxiliary bishop here in san francisco and chaplain to the cities association of catholic trade unionists. monsignor joseph monier oversaw catholic action training for priest at saint patrick's seminary. and monier participated in the joint allied occupation administration and vatican collaboration and at revitalization capitalist system in germany after the war ended. monsignor bernard served as chaplain to the oakland act you
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and was director of the archdiocese and program on the resettlement of refugees after the end of world war ii. several lay and religious activist also played leading roles in racial justice reforms in the 1950s. mayor christopher for instance appointed terry frantz wall, a black catholic civil rights activist and john f henning, jack hitting a white catholic labor activist to the city's first equal opportunity commission in the end of 1957. several years later mayor jack kelly who was himself a stalwart member of the catholic action contrary appointed sister moldering kelly to the
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new human rights commission. when sister kelly left san francisco after the first year, shelley replaced her with sister bernadette giles who served 16 years on the commission. like shelley, joseph elio show followed kelly in the mayor's office was also a longtime participant in archbishop's many catholic initiatives. and both shelley and elio remained active as mayors in advancing the agenda of the catholic action program. and they maintained working relationships with many successor archbishops. little wonder then, that when the student strike at san
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francisco state that lasted three weeks and was becoming more and more marked by violence, mayor alioto turned to the church and of the labor movement for help. george jones, executive secretary of the san francisco labor council was also member of the advisory committee for robert smith, the college president, urged elio to to a point a blue ribbon committee. they would serve as mediators, create a resolution acceptable to all sides and bring back order and civility to the college. when alioto asked archbishop mcjunkin to help him choose committee members mcjunkin commissioned hurley and hurley
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was commissioned at the first meeting of this citizens committee of concern. joining hurley on the committee were numerous liberal democrats, some catholic and some non-catholic, but most of them had supported jack kelly during his mayoral turns and backed elio told during his first campaign in the summer and fall of 1967. the most active members of the committee had previously worked with the archdiocese with clear and lay activists in the establishment of both mayor christopher's equal employment opportunity commission and the human rights commission. they had also worked on the successful campaign to declare
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unconstitutional proposition 14, the successful ballot measure that would have nullified california's fair housing act of 19 63. this group included catholics such as neil mccarthy, and joseph lardy, president of the labor council as well as nine catholics, alvin fine, preceding rabbi at temple emanuel and william becker of the jewish labor committee. and human rights commission. soon, hurley and becker who served as the committee's executive secretary were putting in 14-hour days, working behind the scenes to mediate between the end
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imperious and self-righteous president si hayakawa and that's a perfectly object of scene. and the suspicious and intransigent black students union and third world rib liberation front. in his first public statement as chairman, hurley took issue with media accounts of the strike. and of the committee. he pointed out to the public that although the committee had been characterized as simply a bunch of anti-suit during the voting of atleo too. the committee planned to work quite differently, independently working for a settlement that would combine
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peace with justice. this was first suggested by father peter salmon chaplain of san francisco colleges newman center. salmon had criticized media commentary that was condemning the strikers as a bunch of outside agitators influenced by communism. in fact, salmon wrote, the strikers were expressing genuine and long-standing grievances, concerns that needed to be addressed in settling the strike. ending racial discrimination in both admissions policies and personnel matters.
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creating courses and programs that were not only of interest, but serve the actual needs of underrepresented, nonwhite students. one of the mentions of father salmon was one there needed to be fair play in the case of a graduate student instructor, a 23-year-old black graduate student named george murray. before we go back to the details of the strike in the committee's work, we need to say a word about lack power. in 1967 and 68. george murray's case is inseparable from the story of how the black power movement became more complex in those
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two years. george murray was as i said a 23-year-old graduate student, part-time instructor in an experimental special admissions and co-op opportunity. english course, he was also a member of the black student union. murray was also education minister of the black panther party for self-defense. murray was one of a cadre of black student union activists inspired by james dean, a veteran of the southern black freedom struggle who had moved to san francisco and enrolled in san francisco state to organize a black power presence and a mayor. on november 6 1967, garrett,
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murray and several other bsu, black student unions i'll say that from now on. bsu members who were offended by an editorial in the student newspaper, the gator assaulted the white editor of the newspaper in the newspaper office. as a result, they were suspended, but their suspensions were later lifted by the then-college president john summer skill. murray was arrested for the assault, pled no contest, was convicted and sentenced to a six month jail term. and then the sentence was suspended, and he was given
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probation. murray's case and that of the others arrested for the assault became the subject of student demonstrations on campus in november and december 1967. and in february 1968, president summer skill submitted his resignation to be effective in september. from march through may, 1968, the bsu and tw lf students for democratic society, sds and progressive labor party activists carried out campus demonstrations and sit ins to end the college air force rotc program and to immediately increase the number of students enrolled in the special admissions program. they also called for an increase in the number of
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black, latino, asian-american and native american instructors and students. they also called for support in the cases of several temporary instructors who claimed they had not been rehired because of racial discrimination. college trustees responded to these televised disruptive events by demanding that summer skills resignation take effect may 24, not the beginning of september. and on june 1 they appointed john smith in summer skills place. he taught in the spring semester and was rehired to teach in the fall 1968.
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in august 1968, murray represented the black panther party at the conference of the organization of solidarity with the people of asia, africa and f latin america this conference was held in havana cuba. in his speech at the conference, murray condemned us intervention in vietnam, declaring "every time an american mercenary is shot over there, that is when this cat is going to be killing us here in the us." after he returned to the bay area, murray published a manifesto in the black panther party newspaper titled, "for a
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revolution". the article was filled with positive references to revolutionary, nationalist, terrorism in africa, asia and the middle east. those activities ought to serve as a model for black revolutionary theory and practice in the us. our paintings must show piles of dead businessmen, bankers, lawyers, senators, congressmen, burning up inside their stores being blown up in cafis, restaurants and nightclubs. black men, black people, colored prisoners of america, revolt everywhere. arm yourselves, use the gun
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killed the pig everywhere. in a speech shortly afterwards at fresno state, murray explained what he called the necessity of a black revolution. he began by asserting that it is a simple fact that black people are 20th-century slaves and that lyndon baines johnson is a racist cracker punk. the only way to become free is to kill all the slave masters. murray continued this rhetoric after being saint college trustees ruled that his discourses were unacceptable for anyone employed in the state college as an instructor. they recommended that he should be suspended from teaching on september 26th 1968.
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a month later on october 28, first anniversary of the black panther party leader huey newton's arrest in connection with a panther shootout in oakland, murray led a bsu demonstration on campus in support of black power, pretty much he leapt onto a table in the cafeteria and lead his supporters in chance of "free huey" and "off the pig". an order was issued to suspend murray to take effect 1 november. the bsu had previously threatened a strike if he was removed from his teaching post.
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and now the bsu announced that a strike would begin on november 6. the anniversary of the bsu assault on the white editor of the campus newspaper, the gator. now, back to the strike. third world liberation joined the black students union and both organizations pledge themselves to remain on strike until the college met their combined 15 demands. more black and ethnic studies classes and instructors, more special admissions students, the reinstatement of george murray, and several other ethnic studies instructors, and there will be no disciplinary action against any striking
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student, staff or faculty. murray immediately became a cause celebrity. among those regarded the trustees and the chancellors actions as a violation of a teacher's first amendment rights and a violation of a colleges ability to oversee and control its own internal affairs. president smith own sympathy with murray was evident in his comment that murray was was only 23, the son of a minister and an intelligent square in a cauldron of ration pressures. well, murray was in fact the son of a minister, and he would later make a career serving the spiritual needs of his low income oakland congregation.
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but robert smith's suggestion that murray was on a bad trip implied that murray was being acted upon by a toxic substance of some sort and that he was a victim of unintended consequences. when in fact, murray and thousands of young black and white and otherwise men and women in 1967 and 68 deliberately opted out of nonviolent civil rights work in favor of insurrection. in favor of black power and third ward power action.
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this had begun happening soon after the assassination of malcolm x in february 1965. the murder of doctor king on april 4, 1968 accelerated the process and across the country, thousands upon tens of thousands of young men and women decided a revolutionary situation existed, and they decided to seek out opportunities to conduct an armed rebellion using malcolm x's words, "any means necessary" against what they regarded as a murderous genocidal imperialist white america. well, by the end of the first
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week of demonstration the call and response dynamic i would like to call it was on the campus with demonstrators and provocateurs by the dozens challenging and taunting the separatist police and tactical squad, the offices that were stationed in the interior of the campus. after marching turned into the throwing of rocks, bricks and other objects, police caught sometimes beat and arrested selected students in response. in addition, bands of blacks and whites and other strikers descended on selected classrooms where instructors were teaching, despite the
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strike. the classroom visitors intimidated the professors and students, berated them and claimed they were clobbered tours. with the racist power structure, the ubiquitous television cameras, operators and reporters made wednesday,
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