University of Kansas to Honor 1965 Civil Rights Campus Protestors

03081965_01The University of Kansas in Lawrence recently unveiled a historical marker on campus commemorating a 1965 student sit-in by civil rights protestors. On March 5, 1965, about 150 students – both Black and White – marched to the administration building and staged a sit-in outside the office of the chancellor. They had a list of seven demands relating to eradicating segregation in housing and student organizations on campus, particularly fraternities and sororities. When the protestors refused to leave at the end of the business day they were arrested but quickly released.

The next day Chancellor W. Clark Wescoe met with the students and agreed to appoint a committee that would address the issues of concern to the protestors. As a result, the university ended all facets of racial segregation on campus.

The plaque, which will be installed at the site of the protest, includes a quote from historian Rusty L. Monhollon that reads: “The 1965 demonstration was perhaps the most successful civil rights protest ever in Lawrence. In part, the timing was right, and the administration was simply catching up with the tide of civil rights reform sweeping the nation.”

An account on the demonstration written by a history department faculty member can be read on the university’s website here.

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