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Radicals in the HeartlandThe 1960s Student Protest Movement at the University of Illinois$
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Michael V. Metz

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042416

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042416.001.0001

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Race Returns to Center Stage

Race Returns to Center Stage

(p.143) Chapter 25 Race Returns to Center Stage
Radicals in the Heartland

Michael V. Metz

University of Illinois Press

King’s assassination moved race to center stage on campus, Eugene McCarthy entered the presidential race, Lyndon Johnson withdrew his name from nomination by his party, and Citizens for Racial Justice (CRJ) formed and proposed university action to improve race relations. Antiwar activists hosted ten days of protest with a pray-in, teach-in, and play-in called Gentle Thursday. Peltason accepted the CRJ proposal, hired a dean, and announced plans to enroll more blacks, which the Black Students Association (BSA) condemned as aiming for too few black enrollees and proceeding too slowly. As black students occupied campus buildings across the country, Peltason accelerated and expanded the enrollment program, to be known as Project 500.

Keywords:   race relations, John Lee Johnson, Eugene McCarthy, Lyndon Johnson, Citizens for Racial Justice (CRJ), ten days of protest, Gentle Thursday, Jack W. Peltason, Project 500

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