- "White Racism and the Black race." April 8, 1968.
- "Rid Rutgers of Racism." April 8, 1968.
The assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the foremost Civil Rights leader of his time, set off protesting and rioting in over one hundred American cities. Despite his commitment to nonviolent protest, his death elicited a response of great anger and frustration among black communities across the country.
Though Dr. King's death did not lead to riots at Rutgers University, there was a rally against racism on April 6th, a protest march against the displacement of the urban poor in New Brunswick on April 8th, a memorial service in honor of Dr. King, and all classes were cancelled the day after the King funeral.
The two documents below appeared in the Rutger's Daily Targum, the student-run newspaper on April 8, 1968, four days after Dr. King's assassination.
The first document, "White Racism and the Black race" was an editorial written by a group of black students at the invitation of the newspaper. (note: it is unclear as to why the word "race" was not capitalized in the title). The second document, "Rid Rutgers of Racism," was an editorial written by the editorial staff of the newspaper.
Links to Documents
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Using 1968 as your context, take the role of a white student and address a response to the charge of "white racism." Address your response in the form of a letter to the editor or an op-ed piece.
- What could you as a student have done to prevent racism on your college campus?
- Why should you have been concerned with this serious charge being levied against you by the black students?
- In what ways may the concerns of the black students and the editorial board of the newspaper be valid or not?