Rutgers-Newark’s Conklin Hall Takeover and Educational Diversity Website

[This is a FICTIONAL grant application created for educational purposes only. The contents are in no way representative of the named institution.]

Nature of Request-

Currently the website “The North” Rise Up Newark, serves as an interdisciplinary and interactive digital archive that has been dedicated to telling the stories of black people who have shown resistance in the urban setting. One of those stories is of the Conklin Hall Takeover, an event conducted by the Black Organization of Students (BOS) at Rutgers University-Newark in the year 1969, were the organization took over Conklin Hall the main classroom building at the time, for a period of 72 hours to have their demands surrounding black students’ integration to the university heard. Some of demands were: integrating more black students and faculty into the university, the creation of a Black Studies Institute, financial assistance and programs for blacks and disadvantaged students, and greater involvement of the university towards the Newark community. After negotiations, when some of the demands from the organization were implemented it changed Rutgers University-Newark radically. The Takeover was the spark the ignited change for a more multiracial and diversity inclusive university. This being the case, Rutgers University-Newark is requesting the NEH an amount of $23,540 for a Prototyping Grant to create a website affiliated to “The North” Rise Up Newark to broaden the section of the Conklin Hall Takeover. The aim is to be able to digitize more archival content from the Conklin Hall takeover that has not yet been examined and to motivate other educational settings to welcome diversity into their institutions as Rutgers has in the years after the Conklin Hall Takeover. The website, “Conklin Hall Takeover and Educational Diversity”, will aim to tell the story of the Black Organization of Students and their efforts towards creating a change of the demographics at the university. Today, Rutgers University has a series of oral histories and primary documents such as flyers, newspaper articles, pictures, and letters that have not yet been digitized or completely put together in a space. Although, one of the website’s goals will be to bring experts together to digitize these archival materials, the most important aim is to be able to aid other universities in becoming more diverse, following Rutgers-Newark as a model.

“In the year 1969, only 148 of the 3,300 undergraduate students enrolled in Rutgers Newark were black, with no black faculty on campus.” (Rise Up Newark). Today Rutgers University-Newark has the most diverse demographics of students and faculty (U.S News and World Report) and although many of the students celebrate they attend the most diverse university in the nation, they don’t know about the Conklin Hall Takeover and that this event was what initiated the change. Therefore, dedicating a sole website to this important event that encompasses a success story of change through the actions of black students is imperative to the narrative of the black digital humanities, as it will help celebrate the accomplishments of those students who fought for a more diverse university; and with its interactive interface it will propagate the ideas of embracing diversity to other universities throughout the country.

The goals of this project are:

  • Make primary sources about the Conklin Hall takeover available to other universities, colleges, and educational facilities for their further research and analysis.
  • Teach the importance of being involved in activities that will voice one’s concerns and will help fight for equal rights.
  • Bring together scholars from the humanities, digital media, and participants of the takeover to help analyze archival content to create a narrative.
  • Create a platform for embracing diversity in other educational settings with the sharing of ideas, pictures, lectures, and all content relevant to the page.

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