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Several black organizations.- The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, The Metropolitan Boston Committee of Black Churchmen. The Greater Boston Ministerial Alliance, and the Black Unitarian Universalist Conference-announced support for the Organization for Black Unity (OBU) at a rally Sunday afternoon in Memorial Church.
The rally's main speaker, Floyd McKissick, former head of CORE, praised black students for the takeovers of University buildings and condemned Harvard for its "racism."
A black Faculty member, Haywood Henry Jr., Visiting Lecturer on Afro-American Studies, called on all blacks at Harvard, including the faculty, to leave if the University takes further disciplinary action against the students involved in the takeover.
All the students who participated in the takeover of University Hall last Thursday have been "temporarily suspended" and are subject to further discipline.
"It is truly a revolution, when blacks at Harvard are saying that it is more important to be black than at Harvard," Henry said. "Don't let Harvard get away with [the suspensions]. If they suspend 60, you make them suspend all 600. And, if necessary, let us all go, not just students, but faculty too."
Henry is the first black Faculty member to say publicly that he would resign if the University suspends the students. The other black Faculty members who were questioned would not comment.
"I am glad to be here at Harvard, the citadel of education, higher learning, and racism," McKissick told the crowd of 350 blacks and a few whites.
Addressing the students who participated in the recent takeovers, McKissick said, "What you did was a method of communication"- the only possible method to confront what he called the University's stubborn and racist stand.
McKissick saluted the blacks at Harvard for being proud of their race and reminded them, "you cannot be given freedom; the black man must liberate himself, he must liberate his mind."
McKissick was followed by Rev. Virgil Wood of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, who drew enthusiastic applause when he said, "We are here to say to Harvard that she is a liar, a damned liar."
Wood charged that the University's labelling of the students "peace breakers," was, "a trick, a ruse, a ploy that has always been used against those who bring the bad news." OBU's actions at Harvard have been "good news to the black community." Wood said, and "Harvard's response to our legitimate demands is unexpected pad news."
In a joint statement, the Metroplitan Boston Committee of Black Churchmen and the Greater Boston Ministerial Alliance said. "The University has become a supporter of trial without jury." The
statement charged Harvard with attempting to suppress all dissent by "taking a mechanical and legalistic" stand on a demonstration that did no damage and did not "seriously disrupt" University functions.
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