In the fall of 1968, New York City teachers went on strike three times, in reaction to an experiment in community control of schools in Ocean Hill-Brownsville, Brooklyn. The third strike was the longest, and the ugliest.
The movement for community control tapped into a powerful desire among Black and brown people across New York City to educate their own. But the backlash was ferocious. The confrontation at Ocean Hill-Brownsville fractured the connection between teachers and families, between the labor movement and the civil rights movement, between Black and Jewish New Yorkers. Some of these wounds have never really healed.
But as the strike dragged on for seven weeks, schools in Ocean Hill-Brownsville were open for business. And for many students there, the experience was life-changing.