February 24, 1969
Rutgers Diversity
was born ...


Conklin Hall Takeover

Video Interviews

Digital Documents
4oth Anniversary Calendar
Related Links





Rutgers - Newark

Rutgers University Libraries

John Cotton Dana Library
Digital Preservation Initiative





Project Outline:

This project has three initial components:

1) the scanning and digital preservation of essential documents located by Dana Librarian Ann Watkins and photographs from the Dana archives related to the 1969 Conklin Hall Takeover.

2) The conversion of audio cassette interviews to digital compact disc format. These interviews were conducted by Reference Librarian Gilbert Cohen (now retired) in 1992 with BOS members and others who were part of the takeover.

3) Video interviews with present and past faculty, students and staff to obtain their opinions on the relevance of the takeover, reflections of their experience at Rutgers-Newark and the state of the campus today.




Immediate Objectives:

· To compile a digital archive of documents, photos, video and audio interviews related to the 1969 Conklin Hall Takeover. All recorded materials will be submitted for placement in the RUL digital repository for researchers, educators and scholarly use to facilitate and promote diversity enrichment and cultural awareness.

· To complete streaming video clips of interviews as part of an introductory DVD for presentation at the 40th Anniversary of the Conklin Hall Takeover in February, 2009. This presentation could also be used for student and staff orientations and special programs and on select university websites to convey this important portion of Rutgers history often referred to as a “seed of diversity.”


Document Index

Conklin Hall Takeover Documents
pdf Format




During the era of the Liberation of Conklin Hall, assassinations, war, riots across the country and violence on college campuses dominated headlines and airwaves. Newark, still reeling from the 67’ riots was a powder keg and Conklin Hall could very well have served as a spark to ignite more violence. The 69’Liberators however, had a very different and strategic plan. With the threat of vigilantes, Newark Police and N.J. State Troopers storming in at any time and the world watching, designated members continued negotiations while the group inside Conklin Hall maintained their composure and stayed in constant communication with administrators and their colleagues. At the time Conklin was the main location for the campus communications systems. The decision to takeover the building was made after over 18 months of  meetings, presentations and waiting for change.  With the vision and support of Bessie Nelms –Hill, Mason Gross and Malcolm Talbott, the bravery of the 69’ Liberators led by the late Joseph Browne resulted in one of the most effective non-violent  protest  ever. The results continue to open doors for others today.