"We Bring Thee Our Laurels Whatever They Be:" A Concise History Of Morgan State Student-Led Protest
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History and Geography
Doctor of Philosophy
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Black students were major contributors in the fight for equality and civil rights. By the mid-1930s black college students were members of the “National Student League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Youth and College division. These black colleges were places primed for a youth movement to develop. These campuses provided a ready-made army of students willing to march, protest, sit-in and in some instances die for the equality of all Americans. Most Americans, black and white, are aware of the student-led protest at the Woolworth's led by North Carolina Agriculture and Technical College students, the Free Speech Movement at University of California-Berkeley and the anti-war (Vietnam) protests at Kent State in Ohio. However, many Americans are unaware of the student-led protests prior to 1960 involving students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). This dissertation is a study of the various generations of student activism that made Morgan State a forerunner in transforming youth culture and restructuring the social, political, and economic landscape of America. Not only did these students protest in the communities but also on their campus, which resulted in both changes to Morgan's and society's policies. This dissertation incorporates the most recent research in social movement history to examine the Civil Rights Movement in Baltimore and throughout the state of Maryland, with a focus on the impact of Morgan student activism. This activism began 1930s with Morgan students' involvement with the “National Student League” and with the creation of the Morgan NAACP chapter. Morganites have continued their crusade for civil, human, and equal rights to present day and have addressed the issues that plague African American communities. The study will examine the racial climate of “Jim Crow” era Baltimore and Maryland, and the problems the student population encountered attending an institution of higher education for blacks, situated in an all-white community and funded by a majority white state legislature. In order to capture a portrait of several generations and movements in flux, this dissertation will additionally explore the formation of Morgan's NAACP chapter and the Civic Interest Group, This work will analyze the unique impact of female activists, the evolution of student activists' agendas, strategies, and tactics; while examining relationships between the students and the other (adult) civil rights organizations. Lastly, this study will delve into the racial climate in Maryland, specifically Baltimore in recent years and its impact on Morgan's students. The objective of this study is to revise the history associated with black college activism to include Morgan State's contributions, while redefining the perception of black colleges and the protests led by these students.