In 1959, Columbia University announced plans for a new gymnasium for Columbia College students and residents of the Harlem community. The gym would be segregated, with residents of the Harlem community having to enter through the basement entrance, and having limited access to the facilities. The gym was also not open for use by students from Columbia’s graduate and professional schools, Barnard College, or Teacher’s College.
In March 1960, a national wave of sit-in campaigns to desegregate lunch counters and public accommodations reached Miami. Miami was one of 11 Florida cities where activists organized sit-ins over the months of February and March 1960. On 4 March 1960, students from Florida Memorial College led a sit-in in in Miami, Florida. Participants included adult ministers.
The Washington University in St. Louis student campaign to cut the university's ties with Peabody Coal came after months of community organizing in St. Louis against Peabody Energy, one the largest corporations in the city. During the spring of 2014, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) organized around the “Take Back St. Louis” ballot initiative, which would prevent fossil fuel companies like Peabody from taking advantage of city tax incentives. MORE argued that the money should be used to support underfunded city programs and schools.
During the Civil Rights Movement, Mexican-Americans struggled for equal
rights all across the Southwest in America. In Texas, campaigns for
racial equality were led primarily by organizations like La Raza (the
Resistance), MAYO (Mexican-American Youth Organization), PASSO
(Political Association of Spanish-Speaking Organizations), and the Brown
Berets. These organizations struggled for equal rights and privileges
for Mexican-Americans in all facets of society.
On 20 December 2005, in the midst of the cold and busy holiday season, nearly 40,000 subway and bus operators from New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) went on strike, protesting the contract they found to have unfair economic terms. The strike, the first NYC transit strike in 25 years, completely shutdown the public transportation system, which nearly 8 million people, including 600,000 students relied on for their commutes.
Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” injects a mixture of water, sand and
chemicals under high pressure into dense shale rock formations to crack
the rock and release oil and/or natural gas. Oil companies began using
the process around 1950, but only in the mid 2000’s did it become a
widespread environmental issue as energy companies began developing new
ways to find oil and gas as the cheaper, easier sources were depleting.
One geologic formation, called the Marcellus Shale, included about 1/3
of southern New York state, including the Catskill mountains and the New
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, many artists, particularly visual artists in New York City, struggled to contextualize their work in an era filled with civil rights, labor, and anti-war campaigns. Artists reconciled their non-representational artwork with a desire to act politically in line with these campaigns by performing non-artistic types of work. This type of work took the form of nonviolent tactics directed at the museum system.
Since its founding in 1859, Cooper Union had operated as a tuition-free art, architecture, and engineering school. However, after years of financial troubles, the College announced on 24 April 2012 that it would begin charging graduate students tuition beginning in the fall of 2014. Large numbers of students, faculty, and alumni strongly opposed this announcement; many blamed the shortfall on poor management of the endowment, expensive building construction, and over-reliance on poorly performing hedge fund investments.
The campaign began 6 June 2013, and ended 21 July 2014, with the South Portland City Council vote to ban the export of unrefined crude from its port.
Philadelphians prevent deportation of Honduran immigrant through church sanctuary, United States, 2014-15
The New Sanctuary Movement (NSM) was established to build a community
that does not discriminate based on faith, ethnicity, class, and to end
injustices against immigrants regardless of their legal or illegal
status. They are a national movement of civil disobedience trying to
pressure President Obama to reform immigration laws. Their movement
goals include pushing Obama to end all deportations, regardless of
“origin, status, criminal convictions, sexual or gender identity,
socioeconomic status, marital status, or previous deportation order”
The Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement began in 2011 at Swarthmore College when Swarthmore Mountain Justice founded the first divestment campaign. The movement slowly grew throughout over the next year until 350.org launched their Do the Math nationwide speaking tour, which sparked rapid growth of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement around the country. Pitzer and Pomona College students who attended a Do the Math event at UCLA in November 2012 founded the Claremont Colleges Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign later that month.
As the nationwide struggle for civil rights in the United States, led by
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, continued into 1964, tension between civil
rights activists and the city government was rising in St. Augustine,
Florida. Public institutions remained segregated, and Klu Klux Klan
violence against African Americans increased, despite activists’
protests and pleas to the government.
Florida wade-ins to end racial segregation of public beach and pools (Civil Rights Movement) 1945-1964
In a time that many considered the “post-Jim Crow” era, racial segregation of unequal public facilities remained the norm throughout Florida. First expressed in the Fort Lauderdale Daily News in 1927, African American communities were unhappy with being constrained to a single “colored leisure beach”; an uninhabited and inconvenient strip of land that was inferior to the “white beaches”. It was not until 1945 that African American leaders in Dade County began to plan action to challenge and draw attention to this injustice.
Gay rights advocates in the United Methodist Church had been arguing for decades, beginning at least since 1972, for changing the Church policy on gay rights, including their ban on officiating at same-sex weddings, and prohibiting openly gay clergy. The issues had been raised at each of the 2004 and 2008 General Conferences where policy for the Church could be debated and set.
Organic Farmer and Shadbush Collective protest development of natural gas well on neighboring farm, 2012-2013.
Maggie Henry and her husband Dale have managed an 88-acre organic farm in North Beaver Township, Lawrence County—located in western Pennsylvania—for the past three decades. The Henry’s produce pork, poultry and eggs, and service Pittsburg area restaurants.
Lehigh is a university of 5,000 students located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The University provides campus food services, maintenance of facilities and campus grounds through contracts with corporations Sodexho, One Source and Brickman respectively.
On 23 April 2005 an organizer for United Students against Sweatshop, Dawn Liberto, gave a speech at Lehigh, in which she encouraged students to take increased interest in campus workers. Liberto called for a campus living wage, suggesting that students begin with appreciation lunches and then pursue contract previsions.
On 30 June 1998, the contract between Service Employees International Union Local 200A (SEIU) and Syracuse University (SU) expired. Preceded by two months of negotiation, SU made a final offer for a new contract before the 30 June deadline.
Beginning in 2008, the Obama Administration of the United States government accelerated the deportation of illegal immigrants from the United States, deporting roughly twice as many immigrants as the most recent previous presidential administrations.
Jackson was the largest city in Mississippi in 1960, with 250,000 residents, 50,000 of whom were black. Medgar Evers, a field secretary for the Jackson chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) began to build up NAACP Youth Councils at colleges and high schools in the area since 1961. Since the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) were in other parts of Mississippi, the NAACP was the only consistent nonviolent group in Jackson.
Rainforest Action Network forces Wells Fargo Bank to stop funding mountaintop removal coal mining 2005-2006
Mountaintop removal coal mining is an extremely destructive form of surface coal mining. Companies practice mountaintop removal coal mining in several places around the world, including the central Appalachian region of the United States. Mountaintop removal coal mining only produces about seven percent of the world’s coal, but causes huge environmental destruction and human health costs.
Students, faculty, and staff at the University of Virginia began the first of a series of campaigns to improve the wages and working conditions of the University’s lowest paid employees in 1997. In 2006, students and faculty who identified themselves as members of the Living Wage Campaign conducted a year-long nonviolent struggle to raise the wages of the lowest paid University workers, which culminated with 17 students staging a sit-in in the President of the University’s office for four days before being arrested.
Huntsville, Alabama, grew quickly during the United States’ Space Race with the Soviet Union. From 1950 to 1960, the population tripled from 16,000 to 72,000, with 30% black citizens. With Redstone Arsenal and the National Aeronautics (NASA) bringing scientists and middle class citizens to Huntsville, the city administration tried to present the city with a progressive image. However, instead of improving conditions for black citizens, the administration claimed that a racial inequality did not exist.
In 2007, the University of California Board of Regents managed the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, two of the largest of the United States government’s nuclear weapons facilities at the time. The Board had managed these facilities since their creation in 1942 and 1952 respectively, and was the government’s largest nuclear contractor for over six decades.
Marshall, Texas, despite having a black majority, practiced public and private racial segregation like most of the South in the 1950’s. The town included two historically black colleges: Bishop College and Wiley College.