Fifty Years Ago: The Birth of Black Power in Canada

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1751 ... January 29, 2019
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Fifty Years Ago: The Birth of Black Power in Canada

January 29, 1969: Montreal students occupy computer lab to protest campus racism

John Riddell

January 29 this year marks half a century since Black students at Sir George Williams University in Montreal led a bold occupation of the campus computer centre. Their two-week action marked the dramatic arrival in Canada of Black Power, a term used to describe the militant mass struggle for Black freedom that shook the United States during the 1960s.

The occupation also triggered sharp government repression: a violent police assault on February 11 that broke up the occupation, causing an estimated $2-million in damages to the computer centre. Criminal charges were then laid against activists while an extended Canada-wide and international... campaign mobilized in their defense.

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