Scope and Content Note
The Williams Strike Central Records, 1969-1970, contain documents produced prior to and during the 1970 Williams College strike to protest the Vietnam War and the killing of four students at Kent State University. There is some pre-strike material in the collection, mostly relating to other campus protests about Vietnam and the October Moratorium of 1969, but most of the material found within the file dates from the first day of the strike at Williams, May 4, 1970, to May 14 because it is during this period that the most intense strike efforts occurred throughout the country. As there were fewer activities and the passion for the strike was no longer as strong, there are fewer documents towards the last days of the strike at Williams. All documents in the Strike Records are arranged in chronological order by day, with one folder of undated materials at the end.
The strike at Williams College began on May 4, 1970, when the college community gathered in Chapin Hall to hear about the day's events and vote in overwhelming support of the for suspension of classes and an all campus strike until peace was reached in Southeast Asia. From this meeting through the next two weeks, the campus was kept up to date with all the daily strike events and urgent updates through Seeley House, or Williams Strike Central, as it was later called. Throughout the collection, there are numerous press releases from Strike Central on all topics to be read on WCFM, the college radio station, and printed in the 18 special editions of The Williams Record. WCFM read new announcements hourly not only from the Williams campus, but from other campuses in the Northeast as well. News releases can be found from some colleges asking for help in organizing their own strikes, as well as rallies and canvassing announcements. Other colleges mentioned frequently in the Williams Strike Central press releases include Berkshire Community College, North Adams State College, Briarcliff College, Yale University, Brandeis University, Smith College, and Bennington College. Also from outside of Williams College, there are fact sheets on congressional letter writing campaigns, different activist groups, and the history of repression. Many names show up frequently in the Strike Central Records, including local political figures, strike sympathizers, and Williams students Jim Lobe and Bob Katt.
In addition to Strike Central press releases and memoranda, the Williams Strike Records include reporter's notes from the Chapin Hall meeting on the evening of May 4, the faculty resolution supporting the efforts of the students, Strike Central phone books, policy statements from the UNDO (Union for National Draft Opposition), a pledge of bond redemption, posters for benefit concerts, lists of colleges on strike, policy statements of several organizations, suggestions for strike activities, a statement by President John E. Sawyer, letters to Alumni, and newspaper clippings.