Blacks Out of the Chapel

Colby Bicentennial Seal 1964-2013

March 13, 1970


Students occupy Lorimer Chapel, demanding more black students and faculty.
AP Photo

The seventeen black students occupying Lorimer Chapel were each served, at 8:30 P.M. Monday night with a restraining order giving them two hours to vacate the chapel. The order had been issued to the administration at about 6:15 P.M. that same night. Within an hour after the serving of the restraining orders, the seventeen blacks left the chapel. It should be noted that the administration was refused a number of times stronger versions of the restraining order including a clause that would have effectively prohibited the Student Organization for Black Unity from meeting as a body on college property.

At a meeting held at 10:00 P.M. that night it was explained by the members of the white coalition group to about 150 white students that the blacks had decided not to martyr themselves. Had they remained in the chapel they would have been liable to arrest. Such action, they felt, would have moved the attention of the public from the substance of the five demands to the less meaningful but more inflammatory occurrence of seventeen blacks being arrested at Colby. Such a shift in emphasis was not thought to be in any way helpful toward achieving the goals of the original five demands.

Student Government has sent a letter to President Strider expressing that it “deplores” the legal actions taken by the administration and that it feels that the actions on campus exhibited no dangers of damage to the college or of injury to students as the complaint filed by the administration stated, until after the students learned that the administration had undertaken legal action.

In ECHO interviews, each Charles Terrell, Rodney Braithwaite, and Terrence Knight, expressed the view that “it’s not over yet,” in reference to the pursuit of their demands.


–The Colby Echo