“We Are Worth Fighting For: A History of the Howard University Student Protest of 1989” by Joshua M. Myers
I was excited to begin reading Joshua Meyers’ book. I was excited because the protest he lived through came twelve years after I graduated from Howard Undergrad. But as he acknowledges, that was not the first time Howard students rebelled.
As I write in my upcoming memoir Black Power Black Lawyer, “I always felt cheated because I missed out on the heyday of Howard University’s activism by five years. In 1968, the school’s rebellious spirit was punctuated by the four-day takeover of the Administration Building by over 2,000 students. When I arrived in 1973, things were back to normal, so to speak …”.
But were they? Seeds were being sewn during that time that ultimately led to the 1989 nomination of Republican National Committee Chairman Lee Atwater to the Howard University Board of Trustees. Howard totally underestimated the revolutionary fervor of its student body. Although I have not finished reading the book, in January I attended Meyer’s book signing, hosted by the Howard University History Department. The author poignantly described the take-over, and both the anticipations and the fears that he and the other students experienced while under attack. And as he talked, I could feel the experience as well.
I remember the student architects of the 1989 takeover of the Administration Building and their valiant activism. I remember April Silver and the organization, Black Nia Force. And as I thought about stances I have taken during my life’s activism, I was proud of the principled stance they took.
In the words of Silver, and immortalized in the title of Meyer’s book, yes, we are, indeed, “Worth Fighting For.”