Dudley/A&T Revolts: An early Ferguson

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National Guard Tanks rolling down the street, the unnecessary militarization of the police in a small city, an innocent life lost; the events currently going on in Ferguson, Mo., hold much significance to the North Carolina A&T State University community.  

The death of Michael Brown has reignited the issue of race and police brutality in America. Speaking with Claude Barnes, Ph.D about his feelings on both the situation in Ferguson, as well as the 1969 Dudley/A&T Revolts was truly an experience.

Both situations are perfect examples of how minorities in our country, both then and now, still have to fight in order to gain equality and respect.

“They see us as second-class citizens,” Barnes said, in recollecting the events of the revolt and the chaos that ensued on campus, as well as referring to the situation in Ferguson.

Barnes was a student from Dudley High School, and was at the center of what was the biggest display of police brutality seen during A&T’s history.

The Dudley/A&T Revolts were essentially the climax of tension growing between the  African American community and police within the city.

Barnes was elected SGA President; however, due to his pro-black organization involvements in the community, the administration at Dudley botched the elections, which led to student protests.

The protest was then carried over to A&T, where  tension grew and eventually, the National Guard and Greensboro Police descended upon the campus to “control” the crowd and students.

Protesters and students were unarmed.

The president of A&T at the time, Dr. Lewis C. Dowdy was not informed of the decision to sweep the campus until after the operation began. Eventually, campus fell into a war zone as students fought back against the unjust force they were witnessing. Students and bystanders even experienced the old Scott Hall Dorm (now the Four Freshman Villages) being riddled with bullets from riffles and guns to keep students inside their dorms.

Willie Grimes was the only one to lose his life during the revolt, a death that still remains one of the coldest cases in Greensboro to this day.

I wanted to highlight this important part of N.C. A&T’s history for both the new students, and the general campus. Denying any persons from equal opportunities fundamentally goes against the constitutional rights that every American possesses in this country.

The event in Ferguson is just history repeating itself.

These of types of altercations have occurred in the past and then are slowly

forgotten. It seems as if today, we rally behind an issue or cause then drift back into ignorance after the climax blows over and the media cameras turn off.

Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis and Willie Grimes. The list of

innocent deaths goes on. When are we going to stand up and say enough is enough?

“This is still a fight that young people still need to be

involved in,” said Barnes.

As students at the illustrious N.C. A&T, we cannot allow that activist spirit and drive to fade away.

As both minorities and youth, our voice is especially important. N.C. A&T has always been a civically and politically active university.

Our generation has more power and influence than ever before, and it is imperative that we continue to showcase our presence.

The balance of activism and force is crucial to ending the epidemic of police brutality across the county. Minorities deserve the right to live in peace amongst our white brothers and sisters, and this right will only come if we continue to fight for equality.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

These words hold much truth during these times. Awareness and

action must continue in order to shed light on this issue. Only then will progress begin to occur, and America will see the change that it deserves.

  • Jordan King Contributor