7 Times in History When Students Turned to Activism
  • 6 years ago
7 Times in History When Students Turned to Activism
But even as questionable police shootings happen, convictions of officers remain rare,
and protests on the streets continue, Black Lives Matter has had a fundamental impact on the national conversation about racial bias and the use of excessive force by the police.
Images of police brutality — particularly a photograph of a high school student carrying the body of Hector Pieterson (12
or 13 years old; accounts differ) — drew international attention to the broader cruelty of South Africa’s government.
The lunch counter sit-ins that would change American history began with four teenagers who
walked up to a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., and refused to leave.
Those young men — Ezell Blair Jr., 18; Franklin McCain, 19; Joseph McNeil, 17;
and David Richmond, 18, all students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University — made their stand on Feb. 1, 1960.
The students were protesting two things — the construction of a university gym in Morningside Park in Harlem
that would provide only limited access to Harlem residents, and Columbia’s Vietnam-era contract with a weapons research think tank — and Columbia canceled both.
From Columbia University to the University of California, protests compelled administrators
to withdraw billions of dollars in investments from companies tied to South Africa.