This Day in History

Sept. 16, 1968: Harrison High School Student Uprising

Time Periods: 1961
Themes: African American, Education, Organizing
A colorful poster showing student protestors

Harrison High School 1968 Student Uprising, by Nicole Marroquin. Source: Justseeds

On September 16, 1968, students at Harrison Technical High School staged a walkout to protest the lack of African American history classes, overcrowding and poor conditions, and more. One thousand students, a third of the school, participated in the walkout, primarily composed of Black and Latinx students. This was a catalyst for a city-wide school strike the following month.

The poster to the right is called Harrison High School 1968 Student Uprising, by Nicole Marroquin, an artist with the Justseeds Collective. The text in the poster reads:

In September 1968 on the West Side of Chicago, members of a student group the New Breed at Carter H. Harrison Technical High School organized Black Mondays. Each week they walked out of classes to demand college preparation classes, more homework, more Black teachers, and Afro-American history and culture classes. Despite violence and threats from police, in October Latinx students joined their classmates in weekly walkouts, marches, and sit-ins. Harrison students Sharron Matthews and Victor Adams organized schools throughout Chicago resulting in a massive citywide school strike of 80,000 students on October 15th. Student activists and Black teachers maintained their pressure on the Chicago Board of Education who were finally forced to change their policies to increase community control of Chicago public schools.

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Additional Resources

Harrison High Protests of 1968: Demanding Better Education by Hannah Bradford and Anna Hevrdejs (Digital Chicago History)

Mexicans and African Americans in the Struggles for Better Schooling at Harrison High School by Rafael Valencia (El Beisman)