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AALBC.com's Kam Williams Took Over Brown University


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..well maybe not the whole University.


Back in 1975, while a grad-student at Brown University, Kam Williams was part of a student rebellion and took over Brown University's University Hall.  The protest was chronicled in the film, from the period, Here to Stay: The Takeover of University Hall Kam is guy playing the playing the tambourine in the clip below: 



Interestingly, Kam was also a classmate of Gayl Jones, who he says was a brilliant writer back then, getting a book deal right out of grad school.

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Kam just forwarded me the following:


On March 14, 1975, students gathered to protest the University’s proposed budget for 1975-76, charging that President Hornig’s “White Paper” on the budget would cut financial aid and student services and also that the reduction of faculty would affect minorities.


The students formed an informal “Coalition,” the purpose of which was to pressure the Corporation to adopt an alternative budget. The students’ demand for access to all budgetary material was denied, and on April 13 the Coalition presented a list of final demands. The next day 2,956 students (78 per cent of the 73 per cent of the student body which voted) elected to strike. In the following days class attendance dropped and the students picketed University Hall.


The Advisory and Executive Committee passed the budget with few changes, while assuring that no student would be forced to leave because of increased costs. A student referendum on April 22 indicated that the students, while dissatisfied with the outcome, did not support further protest. On Thursday, April 24, 1975, University Hall was occupied by forty black, Latin, and Asian-American students. The occupation lasted 38 and a half hours, while picket lines in two circles, one of black students and one of white supporters, marched around University Hall, improvising dance steps and clapping to the accompaniment of conga drums and tambourines. The students were voicing concern that Brown was not living up to commitments made after the black walkout in 1968. The occupation of the building by the students, already in communication with the administration, in anticipation of their own Thursday evening deadline was seen as a method of dramatizing the expected agreement.--Kam WIlliams


There is additional back story which that Kam shared with me which was very interesting. 

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