University of Chicago sit-ins

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University of Chicago sit-ins
Part of the Civil Rights Movement
Bernie Sanders speaks to protesters, January 1962
Caused bySegregated housing
Parties to the civil conflict
Lead figures

The University of Chicago sit-ins were a series of nonviolent protests at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois in 1962. The protests were called to end alleged segregation in off-campus university owned residential properties.



According to Chicago Maroon managing editor Avima Ruder, a staffer at the student paper found a copy of the University budget, and "we discovered that the University owned a lot of segregated apartment buildings...It was really bizarre because our student population at that point was largely white, but there was no segregation, there weren't separate dorms for African American students—if someone had suggested that, people would have been appalled."[1]

Initially foregoing publishing the news, editors gave the apartment addresses to the Student Government, who reached out to the university chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) to "conduct six test cases in which African American students attempted and failed to secure apartments in the segregated buildings."[1] Student Government and CORE confronted President George Wells Beadle with their findings and demanded the buildings be desegregated. On January 17, 1962, the Maroon broke the story on the front page of the paper, with the headline, "UC Admits Housing Segregation."[1] Beadle wrote a letter to the paper, agreeing that the university segregation was a problem, emphasized the University's nondiscrimination policy and the difference between on-campus housing, which was open to all, and commercial residential properties acquired by the University, many of which had existing segregation policies. "The only issue on which there is arguable difference of opinion," Beadle wrote, "is the rate at which it is possible to move toward the agreed objective without losing more than is gained."[1]


Frustrated with Beadle's call for "planned, stable integration," CORE activist Bernie Sanders led a rally at the University of Chicago administration building to protest university president George Wells Beadle's segregated campus housing policy. "We feel it is an intolerable situation, when Negro and white students of the university cannot live together in university owned apartments," Sanders said at the protest. Sanders then strode into the building, along with 32 other students and camped out outside the president's office, performing the first civil rights sit-in in Chicago history.[2][3]

From January 23 to February 5,[4] Sanders and the other civil rights protesters pressured Beadle and the university to form a commission to investigate discrimination.[5] Beadle met with 300 students in the Ida Noyes Hall theater to announce that further sit-ins would be prohibited and that a committee would be formed to investigate CORE's charges of racial discrimination in University-owned buildings.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Muhlenkamp, Katherine (2012). "Aristotle Schwartz leaves. Malcolm X debates. The Chicago Seven feast. Maroon reporters were there". The Core; College Magazine of the University of Chicago. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  2. ^ Frizell, Sam (2015-05-26). "The Radical Education of Bernie Sanders". Time Magazine. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  3. ^ Perlstein, Rick (January 2015). "A political education". The University of Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  4. ^ The Gold and the Blue: A Personal Memoir of the University of California, 1949 - 1967. 2001. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  5. ^ Craven, Jasper (2015-08-26). "Can Sanders' civil rights experience at U. of C. translate on campaign trail?". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  6. ^ "The University of Chicago Centennial Catalog". Retrieved 2015-09-10.