40th Anniversary Commemoration of the 1968 Student-led Strike

Consciousness, Community, Liberation: Fulfilling the Promise of '68

San Francisco State University

Oct. 29 - Nov. 1, 2008

the strike of 1969
Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte
photo by: Luigino De Grandis

More than two thousand students, faculty, veteran strikers, alumni and community members attended a four-day conference commemorating the 40th anniversary of the 1968 student-led strike at SF State.  The conference was entitled ?Consciousness, Community, Liberation: Fulfilling the Promise of ?68, and it opened with ceremonies October 29 on the Malcom X Plaza at the Cesar Chavez Student Center on the main SF State University campus.  The conference was sponsored by the College of Ethnic Studies and the Educational Opportunity Program. 

The opening ceremonies included a reenactment of a 68 strike rally, replete with strike placards being carried by veteran strikers and current faculty, staff and students.  SF State President Robert A. Corrigan and College of Ethnic Studies Dean Kenneth P. Monteiro also participated in the reenactment as a moving symbol of reconciliation and healing between the strikers and the university.

the strike of 1969
68 strike rally reenactment

The opening day ended with a reception hosted by the College of Ethnic Studies to honor those who participated in the strike and demanded the creation of what has become the world?s only College of Ethnic Studies. Singer Actor Activist Mr. Harry Belafonte delivered the keynote address at the reception to acknowledge the accomplishments of the strikers, who include his friend and fellow actor activist Danny Glover.

Many of the original strikers, both faculty and students, attended the conference.  Well represented was the strike leadership, including leaders from the Black Student Union (BSU), Third World Liberation Front (TWLF) and the Students for Democratic Society (SDS).  TWLF organizations included Asian American Political Alliance (AAPA); Intercollegiate Chinese for Social Action (ICSA); Latin American Students Organization (LASO); Mexican American Student Confederation (MASC); Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavor (PACE); and, Student Kouncil of Intertribal Nations (SKINS).

the strike of 1969
Students and faculty and alumni and community members attend the conference

The conference included more than fifty panel and individual presentations, many by veteran strikers coming forward to speak publically for the first time.  There were also art performances, ranging from poetry to jazz.  Poetry readings included those by Sonia Sanchez, who was a lecturer at SF State in the Sixties, and former San Francisco Poet Laureates Janice Mirikitani and Devorah Major.  There was also a performance by The Last Poets.  The program closed November 1 with a rare joint performance featuring saxophonist John Handy and Bobby Hutcherson on vibes. 

Many of those who attended the conference described it as purposeful, expressing gratitude that the university was renewing meaningful contacts with the community.

Click Here for the 40th Anniversary Conference Program.

Click Here for the Photo Gallery of the Event.

Click Here Press Coverage of the 40th Anniversary.