Protest at the World's Fair
In the 1960's, very few events were immune to a protest. The World's Fair of 1964 was no exception. Students from Rutgers felt this was an opportunity to spread their message of racial equality. Follow the life of a protestor by completing each of the activities below.
Before the students protested, they were given a list of rules to follow. Read the rules the Rutgers students were given in Document #1:
Instructions for Pickets
World's Fair Project
This is a nonviolent demonstration and all participants are expected to abide by the following instructions.
National CORE assumes all responsibility for participants who abide by the CORE Rules For Action.
Arrests are likely. National CORE takes the responsibility of bailing out arrestees as soon as possible after arrest. However, we ask the demonstrators be prepared to stay in jail from 12 to 24 hours, since it takes time to process arrests.
When arrested you have the option of: walking to the van or going limp.
a)Bring identification and money ($3.00 for fare and ticket, $2.00 additional)
b) Eat before coming, so time is not lost during the demonstrations.
c) Dress neatly and comfortably. The wind may be sharp at the Fair site. Women should wear flats and slim skirts. Carry no sharp objects of any kind. (even items like nail files)
d) Go directly to the proper place when instructed. If any problems arise, accept instructions or change in instructions only from the person designated as you captain or a marshal. Captains will wear identification.
Discipline on Picket Lines
Primarily, follow instructions. Accept them only from your captain.
a) March slowly, with an even pace. Don't chat on line.
b) If you must leave the line: advise your captain, so he can maintain the strength of the line. Don't stand near the line, but leave the area at once. If it is cold, don't drink too many liquids.
c) Speak to no one heckling the line, nor to any member of the press. Any questions from any passerby should be referred to the captain, or designated spokesmen. Your captain will remove anyone from the line who can't maintain discipline.
d) Singing and/or shouting : Heckling and responding to insults from passerby lessens the impact of the demonstration. Singing is the best way of maintaining rhythm and moral, and making an impact on the public. Chants should be avoided unless they speak to the specific objectives of the demonstration.
Refer all questions from the press to the captain. If he can't answer them he knows whom to refer the press.
Questions to consider after reading the document
- Summarize the basic rules of behavior given for the protest.
- Do the rules of the protest indicate the protestors may get arrested? Why or Why Not?
The students went to the World's Fair to have their message heard. As happens with many protests, people clashed and the protesters were punished. Read the account from the Rutgers Daily Targum to find out what happend to the protestors in Document #2
"UNIVERSITY STUDENTS ARRESTED AT FAIR: ONE HELD IN $2,000 BAIL ON ASSAULT CHARGE" R. S. Shapiro. Rutgers Daily TARGUM, Thursday, April 23, 1964.
WORLD’S FAIR, N.Y. - Seven University students and a former editor of the Anthologist were among those arrested for civil disobedience as part of CORE’s demonstrations at the World’s Fair opening yesterday.
All seven students were charged with disorderly conduct and in addition three of them were also charged with resisting arrest when they refused to cooperate, when asked to walk to the paddy wagon.
The seven are Michael Padwee ‘64, chairman of Rutgers-Douglass CORE; Jan Braverman ‘65; Jacques Marchand, graduate student of history and faculty advisor to CORE; Michael Greenberg, graduate student of economics; David Crowner, graduate student of German; and William Miller, graduate student of history. The identity of the seventh, an undergraduate, was withheld because he is a minor.
According to an officer at the 110th Police Precinct in Queens, Padwee was brought before a Queens court last night and his bail was set at $2,000. He was charged with felonious assault and disorderly conduct.
According to a report received by Mrs. Crowner, her husband was charged with disorderly conduct and his bail was set at $500.
The National CORE organization had promised to post bail for all those arrested during the demonstrations.
Information on the other students was not available as of 10:30 last night.
THE SEVEN WERE AMONG 29 who were arrested for siting on the ground in front of the United States pavilion at the Fair. About half of the 29 refused to walk to the police wagon. These included Padwee, Marchand, Greenberg and the minor.
A total of 23 University students demonstrated at the Fair.
No University student is known to have participated in Brooklyn CORE'S projected stall-in.
Nine Rutgers undergraduates, seven Douglass College students and seven graduate students participated in the demonstration at the U.S.A. Pavilion.
All of the 350 total arrested at the Fair were brought to the 110th Precinct in Queens and were arraigned later in the day on charges of resisting arrest (when such charges were appropriate) and disorderly conduct.
The arrests of the University students outside the U.S. Pavilion were made entirely by municipal policemen.
When asked last night if the University would take any action concerning the arrested students, Dean of Men Edgar Curtin said, "They're on their own."
The University demonstrators joined Queens (N.Y.) CORE members in a picket line in front of the U.S.A. Pavilion. They began chanting "Jim Crow must go" in rapid, exciting pitch. Then they shouted "Freedom Now!" as the "Star Spangled Banner" played in the background over a public address system.
Then the group of 29 left the picket line and sat down on the ground on the side of the road.
Marchand and Greenberg held signs which read: "CORE Demands a Fair Share" and "World's Fair - Peace Thru Understanding; America's Fair - No Peace Without Equality." When the police began arresting the group, those who declined to walk to the paddy wagon were carried by policemen into the wagon. Also several sitdowners were dragged along the ground to the wagon.
The former editor of the Anthologist, Norman Fruchter '59, was arrested for blocking the entrance to the New York city pavilion along with James Farmer, National Director of CORE, Bayard Rustin, Rev. Donald Harrington and Michael Harrington, author of "The Other America."
Fruchter is the author of the novel "Coat Upon a Stick" which was published in 1962. As an undergraduate at the University he helped to organize the Trenton Crusade, was responsible for getting a march of 600 University students on Trenton in 1958 demanding a restoration of appropriations to the University which had been slashed by the legislature.
Fruchter sat down with seven others outside a side door to the pavilion when the sitdowns had commenced at the site at about 9:30 in the morning. He was not arrested until over an hour after Farmer and those sitting with him at the center door to the pavilion were taken into custody. As Farmer's group and groups in front of other doors were arrested, new sitdowners took their places.
The arrests of the Farmer group were made by club-bearing New York City Policemen, assisted by club-poking Pinkerton men.
More than 2,000 of the 63,000 who attended the Fair were civil rights demonstrators. Many demonstrators picketed state pavilions, some coming from as far as Mississippi and Chicago.
Questions to consider after reading the document
- Why were the protestors arrested?
- Do you feel the Protestors should have been arrested? Why?
After completing Activities #1 and #2 complete the following:
- Compare instructions to the events recounted in the newspaper article. Did the demonstrators follow the guidelines? Explain with examples.
- What are rules you feel protestors should follow? What are the limits for protesting?
- Write a skit or story which details the life of a protestor.