Interview with Paula Giddings

Describe what you when you first go into the Administration Building.


When I first went into the, the first day I went into the Administration Building after the takeover was, was really something. I, I'll never forget it. Ah, it was very, very well organized. It was one of the most organized movements I have seen, even since. You had to have have ID, of course, to get in and out only students were allowed or those people knew were allowed in, you walked in to the administration building. The switch board now was taken over by students and was running more efficiently than it ever had before. There was a microphone set up in the front where, there were ah, announcements being made, and different student representatives had different things to say, and so everyone would here it. There was a whole sound system so everyone could hear what was happening. There were separate floors for men and women, so people who were spending the night, sleeping over, or who wanted to change clothes etc. So they had one floor for women and one floor for men up in the upper floors. We had the best meals. Of course, every school cafeteria, and Howard was no exception, had the worst meals in the world. But a lot of restauranteurs and others in the city were sympathetic to the takeover of Howard. So we'd get these wonderful turkey, whole turkeys were coming in. People were eating three meals a day there and delicious food. Ah, there were, there were times, ah, specified times when there would be clean up time and people were assigned to mop floors and keep everything straight and clean. So it was run, it was running very, very efficiently. And that whole sense of, I guess I, that's when I really consciously knew I had found that Black community that I had been searching for. Because you were sitting there in the Administration Building, all of us certainly were very excited about what we had done. Very, very serious though about what we had done. The proposals and all were very thought out of what we wanted the school to do and the administration to do and what kind of courses that we wanted. And felt very committed to carrying it through and felt very good about ourselves as well. I guess it was a kind of right of passage into adulthood in a way, as well.