Interview with Tony Gittens
QUESTION 16
JUDY RICHARDSON:

Talk about Charter Day and what it was like going into the auditorium, there were all these people amassed, the alumni are there, what was it like?

TONY GITTENS:

Well Charter Day, ah, was a day at Howard that ah where they celebrate the fact that the university, the charter of the university was signed. And we wanted to make a point there too that, ah, that need not have been an auspicious day. That, ah, Howard was there and it's history was spotted. And so I remember the night before, we planned. We planned the demonstration. Ah and I remember the meeting. And noone was really quite sure how that was going to go off. And we decided that we were going to go into Crampton Auditorium. And we seated ourselves sort of in different plo--spots around the univer--around the auditorium. And I can't remember the signal. The signal was something like either myself or someone standing up. I remember I was sitting next to Adrienne Manns. And we're sort of looking at each other saying, "Gittens," she was saying, "Gittens, you know, we really don't have this quite together." We were saying, "We got to do it," you know. And, ah, we just said, "Well it's time." We stood up. All these people stood up and started going towards the stage. Ah and ah Dr. Nabrit was there, and there was someone getting some kind of an award. I can't recall who she was. And I remember walking up on the stage and just saying, you know, "This is all over." You know, "This is over." And then people gave speeches. And students would stay there. Many people left and a lot of students stayed there and, and listened to the speeches. I mean we just totally disrupted the whole thing. And left to make a point. To make a point. That ah, you know, Howard just had to change.

JUDY RICHARDSON:

OK now describe--

TONY GITTENS:

Can I add to that?

JUDY RICHARDSON:

Yeah.

TONY GITTENS:

Ah, so I, I don't want to give and leave the atittude that this was a frivolous activity. Ah that I, I just want to make the point that we were human beings and our activities came out of a stand that we took to make a difference at the university. And in that process there were a number of times where we often weren't absolutely sure about what we were doing, how the demonstrations would go down. Ah, however we knew that we were going to make that place change. You know, that we were going to make it change. That ah it just was not functioning adequately, and it was just going to have to change. So it was not frivolous at all.