Interview with Tony Gittens
QUESTION 5
JUDY RICHARDSON:

And, and you talked a little bit about the Black consiousness stuff that was going on outside the campus. How did that infect the campus? And was there an attempt by the administration to stop that from coming on campus?

TONY GITTENS:

There was, ah, there were demonstrations as you know around that period.

JUDY RICHARDSON:

Excuse me. Don't say, as you know. Can you just start again.

TONY GITTENS:

OK. Tell me what you said.

JUDY RICHARDSON:

There were demonstrations. Just leave out the, as you know.

TONY GITTENS:

OK. You're not supposed to be there?

JUDY RICHARDSON:

I'm not supposed to be there.

TONY GITTENS:

Ah, good-- The whole Howard movement was impacted by what was going on, ah, outside of Howard. Ah, there was a lot of activity in the south. There were Black colleges in the south where students were taking very militant, very firm stands against discrimination. And here there were, the students of Howard, ah, who were considered to be very middle class and sort of away from a lot of that. So there were some students at Howard who believed that that should not be the case and that in fact that Howard if it was to be a leader amongst Black universities should take the firmest of stands. Ah, and we pushed to have, make Howard do that. And, ah, the resistance to that, ah, took the form of, of, for example there were people who would come to Howard. There, there were organizers who wanted to have demonstrations here in Washington and they would come to Howard to try and get Howard students to participate. And there was always resistance on the part of the administration to such people coming on campus. Ah, there were speakers who, ah, we wanted to bring to Howard, towards the earlier days, not so much during the later days. And there was always resistance to these speakers being brought to Howard. Ah, and so the university as a whole felt that it should not be in a controversial position, that, ah, it stated in documents that they felt that, ah, a good deal of money was coming from the federal government to support Howard and that, ah, Howard therefore should not, and Howard students therefore should not be antagonistic toward the government. Ah, we on the other hand, felt that where Howard got its money was its own business and we were adults and able to make our own decisions and take our own stands on things.