Third World College
TWLF Strike
Strike Protagonists-L. A. Times
Anniversary Speech
Illuminations-Liberating Voices
Chronology of Third World Liberation Front Strike at U.C. Berkeley
                                                             By Ling Chi Wang
1968


APRIL: The Afro-American Student Union (AASU) submitted a proposal for a Department of Black Studies to U.C. Berkeley Chancellor Roger W. Heyns.

AUGUST: Professor Andrew Billingsley was appointed the Assistant to the Chancellor to review and plan a Department of Black Studies.
In support of striking farm workers, the Mexican-American Student Confederation (MASC) met with Vice Chancellor O.W. Campbell to ask that the University stop purchasing table grapes. The Business Manager for Housing and Food Services agreed to stop serving grapes.

OCTOBER: Governor of California Ronald Reagan's Agricultural Secretary, Earl Coate, joined Governor Reagan and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Max Rafferty in condemning the grape boycott. U.C. President Charles J. Hitch also instructed U.C. to resume serving grapes in dormitories. The U.C. dormitories resumed serving grapes. Eleven MASC representatives tried to meet with President Hitch and were arrested for unlawful assembly and trespassing. Later this month, President Hitch agreed to establish a Center for Mexican-American Studies with temporary funds and to appoint an assistant to his office.

NOVEMBER: Billingsley submitted a proposal for Black Studies to Chancellor Heyns who promptly referred it to Dean Walker Knight of the College of Letters and Sciences (L&S). Knight asked the L&S Executive Committee to review the proposal.

DECEMBER: The L&S Executive Committee met without student representatives and Billingsley, and revised the proposal by eliminating the community involvement program, field work, and student participation. The committee was unable to decide if Black Studies should be a program or department.
1969

JANUARY: The AASU discussed publicly the need for direct action, including a possible strike. The AASU, MASC, and Asian American Political Alliance (AAPA) formed a united position and began to function as a Third World Liberation Front (TWLF).

January 4: The AASU demanded immediate establishment of a Department of Black Studies.

January 14: A Strike Support Committee was formed to mobilize white student support for the TWLF strike.

January 22: The TWLF Strike began with picket lines at all major entrances of the campus. The TWLF demands included:

  1. Establishment of a Third World College with four departments;
  2. Minority persons be appointed to administrative, faculty, and staff positions at all levels in all campus units;
  3. Additional demands included Admission, financial aid, and academic assistance for minority students; Work-study positions for minority students in minority communities and on high school campuses;
  4. Minorities be allowed to control all minority-related programs on campus;
  5. No disciplinary action against student strikers.

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Local 1570 (Teaching Assistants) called for work stoppage for a week in support of the TWLF strike.
Minority faculty and administrators signed a public statement in support of student demands.

January 28: Outside law-enforcement was brought onto campus for the first time, including California Highway Patrol and Alameda County Sheriffs to protect classroom activities from disruption.

January 29: The police broke up picket lines at Bancroft and Telegraph and at Sather Gate.

January 30: The police began arresting picketing students and the University announced that disciplinary action would be taken against students for violating campus regulations.
The ASUC Senate voted to support the strike.

FEBRUARY 3: The Academic Senate passed a resolution condemning the “disruptive and violent tactics” of striking students and urged the campus to support the administration's proposal for a department of Afro-American Studies and explore a possible College of Ethnic Studies.

February 4: More students were arrested and twenty students were injured when plainclothes officers attempted to arrest strikers. Police declared people in Sproul Plaza an “illegal assembly: and ordered them to disperse.        
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Strike Leaders Richard Aoki, Asian American Political Alliance; Charlie Brown, Afro American Student Union;  and Manuel Delgado, Mexican American Student Confederation. Photo by Muhammed Speaks.