This article is from the Towerlight, outlining the details of Occupy Towson, a historic event for the African American community on Towson University
Backstory and Context
The Enrollment Services building is a pivotal sight for the history of African American students at Towson University. It symbolizes one of the first acts of civil disobedience the BSU organized. BSU was an organization that sought to create a safe environment for young Black men and women to come, collect, re-cooperate, and strengthen. The BSU office was especially necessary during the upheavals of the 1960’s and 1970’s, where such a space was necessary to the preservation of the Black students.
On February 25, 1970 the BSU with a group of 30-40 African American students marched into Dr. James Fisher’s office with a list of demands addressing complaints that many of the students shared. The overall consensus was there was a lack of activities presented for African American students on campus even with them paying semester activity fees. The list of demands included, a room for Black students to gather, a telephone, mimeograph machine, mail priorities, mail pick up, special mailbox, typewriter, and a special account of $5,000. In response Dr. James Fisher allocated a room with the condition it not be segregated. He provided them with a telephone, desks, chairs, and a file cabinet. In his approval of the money Fisher noted that the state had given funds to the college to work towards the integration of races, but he didnot provide any ample explanation as to how the funds have been used to integrate said students. He also noted that he regrettably could not give students groups money but he pledged “to bring the special importance and contributions of Black people to the attention of all”.
This act of protest was one that begun the growth of the BSU at Towson State College as an organization that fights injustices. Although the students' demands were not fully met, it was a start. It is because of this very event that the African American students of Towson now have a free space to gather. That is what makes this site so historic, especially for the African American community. It was the first of the many fights to come for rights of African American students on campus.