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Time Capsule

A half-century-old collection of oral histories in Kroch Library captures the tumult of spring 1969 in vivid detail

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Time Capsule

For more about the Takeover, read our March/April 2009 story “Getting it Straight.”

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3 thoughts on “Time Capsule

  1. Class of '68 (and MSEE '70)

    I woke up on the morning of April 19th and learned about the takeover from the Cornell Daily Sun. I immediately looked for my fraternity brother and roommate, a black student (I am white), and woke him up to tell him. His only word was “Shit”, and the threw on his clothes and disappeared for a couple of weeks. He was a great guy, an excellent mathematician with a beautiful singing voice. I knew that he resented some of the COSEP programs, which he saw as condescending, but we didn’t talk about race very much.
    It seems to me that I lived at Barton Hall for the next week; talking about race, or listening to others talk about race. I was even invited to my thesis adviser’s house for a discussion. I believe that was the singular legacy of the takeover – we talked about things that were previously not discussed and tried to understand them from the perspective of others. I learned that the underlying issues were more complicated, and much more subtle, than I thought they were.
    Thank you for continuing the dialog. A long career working for a medium sized company has taught me that you cannot solve a problem or change a situation without first identifying it and understanding the current condition. And you can’t to this without discussion – a lot of it. Something that you often discover when you do this is that your preconceived notions are wrong.

  2. ‘71 Arts

    I somehow got involved with Rumor Control, which was to identify and verify (or not) things that were being reported in the press about the takeover of the Straight and goings on on campus. There were some very strange and crazy things being “reported” including public sex in Barton.
    I was with my friend Kim, an engineering student. His protest involved re-engineering the elevator at Day Hall to be random. At the time, I thought it was both apt and funny. The Administration clearly had no idea what to do or how to react.

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