NEWARK, NJ - Those who once protested 50 years ago at Rutgers University-Newark's Conklin Hall for a more diverse campus will return to the school to share their stories.
A group of African-American students occupied the building on Feb. 24, 1969, to protest the lack of students and faculty of color and diverse academic programs. While the protest was contentious at the time, the university now celebrates the student protesters’ for changing the course of history for the campus.
While Newark in 1969 was largely populated by African Americans, Rutgers-Newark's student population was mostly white at the time. Today, the Rutgers-Newark campus is rated the most racially and ethnically diverse university in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report.
The students made a number of demands of the university, and several of them were met.
Men and women from the Black Organization of Students who led the protest will hold a panel discussion on Feb. 21. The university will also celebrate the former students for the whole month of February, which is Black History Month.
Black Organization of Students Alumni Association panelist members will include Vickie Donaldson, a retired social services director for the city and George Hampton, a former top executive at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
Peter Jackson, a professor of interdisciplinary studies at Benedict College, and Thomas Roberts, an attorney for Neighborhood Housing Services of Camden Inc., will also be on the panel. Claude Singleton, retired chief for the Bureau of Quality Control in the state Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, will also attend.
Wendell Holbrook, an African American and African Studies professor at Rutgers-Newark, will be the moderator.
The event will be held from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Great Hall on the Rutgers-Newark campus at 15 Washington St. Registration may be made online.