Black Liberation 1969 Archive

Student Papers

Students enrolled in Black Liberation 1969 in Fall 2014 were charged with researching and writing a historical narrative on a topic of their own choosing related to black student activism and the administrative response at Swarthmore College. The following papers were selected as the best work written by students in the course. The papers were chosen based on the subject matter, the thoroughness of research, and the elegance of writing.

‘Black Philosophies of Liberation’: Legacies of Student Activism at Swarthmore College

Alis Anasal

"While the administrative response to SASS actions reflected the narratives of militancy and illegitimacy mapped onto black student activists at institutions of higher education across the country, it was also a reflection of the extent to which Swarthmore remained beholden to an old guard of traditional educators and social conservatives."

Unpacking Diversity at Swarthmore College, 1964 to 1970

Laura Laderman

"In debating and pushing for greater numbers of Black students, more viable and supported Black student life on campus, and a curriculum that reflected their histories and cultures, Black students were struggling with the questions of 'What is the purpose of higher education for diverse students?', and more specifically, 'What is the purpose at an elite historically white college?'."

Perceptions of Radicalism among SASS Members, Swarthmore Faculty, Alumni, Local and National Media, 1968-1969

Noah Morrison

"The main question I pose in relation to this series of historical events is how did peaceful action by students seeking greater representation become construed as violent, radical action?"

From Behind Closed Doors: The Crisis of Control within the Faculty in Response to the 1969 SASS Occupation

Allison Shultes

"Faced with this 'crisis of legitimacy' in being forced to immediately address student demands, the faculty responded by regulating its channels of communication and characterizing SASS in ways that upheld its own authority. In enforcing closed meetings and negotiating with SASS only indirectly through faculty liaisons, the faculty attempted to protect its status from the threat of Black student power — and student power more generally."

Student Papers