The Straight Takeover on Celluloid

Last week, Cornell University commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Willard Straight Hall Takeover, a historic event that has greatly influenced the nature of student activism on the Cornell campus. Besides the numerous articles published by The Sun, the Schwartz Center sponsored a screening of Straight ’69, a student film by Catherine Galasso ’05 that was made in her final year at Cornell. The screening also included a talk by Ed Zuckerman ’70, the managing editor of the Sun at the time of the takeover.

Straight Takeover Still Ignites Heated Debate

In April 1969, 80 African American students took over the Straight to protest the lack of minority rights, spurred by a culmination of events along with the tensions of the time period with the tumultuousness of the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. In commemoration of the Straight Takeover’s 40th anniversary, The Sun hosted a panel on Saturday with people involved or affected by the event in order to discuss the history and its ramifications.

The march

Whitfield and protesters finally leave the Straight, guns in hand, on their way to receive the signatures of Muller and Kennedy. (Photo Credit: N. Eric Weiss / Sun File Photo)


Perkins stands with Eric Evans and David Burak iin Barton to announce the faculty’s nullification of the penalties against the black students. (Photo Credit: Richard A Shulman / Cornell Alumni News)

Moving forward

Perkins salutes the Barton Hall Community after the faculty voted to reverse its refusal of “the deal.” (Photo Courtesy of Cornell University Archives)

United students

10,000 students vote in affirmation of the Afro-American Society’s demands for nullification during a mass gathering in Barton Hall on April 22. (Photo Credit: Robert W. Bollenbach / Sun Staff)

Angry faces

A large metal ash tray is hurled out a window of the Straight after the black students inside ejected a dozen white students, primarily members of the Delta Upsilon fraternity, who had entered the building. (Photo Credit: Richard A Shulman / Sun File Photo)

Peace talks

Perkins meets with Whitfield and other student leaders to resolve the crisis.