Faculty on Strike Against Racism: Lessons from the San Francisco State Strike, 1968-1969


The Activist History Review

by Sara Smith-Silverman

Beginning in September of 1968 the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), the union representing teachers’ in New York City’s public schools, led three strikes withover 50,000 teachers. What motivated tens of thousands of teachers to defy the law, risk their jobs, and strike not just once, but three times? They did not go on strike to demand a wage increase or to reduce class sizes. Instead, the predominantly white teaching workforce struck to protest efforts by the Black community to assert control over their schools in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville school district, a project promoted by Black Power advocates. The teachers’ union ultimately won, defeating the attempt to transfer white faculty out of a school district that was 95% students of color. As a consequence, the African American community in Brownsville became alienated from the teachers’ union, which had demonstrated that it was more concerned with the narrow…

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Author: ALawlessLog

Always learning

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