History of Campus Demonstrations & Rallies

A guide detailing historical events on the campus of Eastern Michigan University related to student protest and demonstrations

Campus Demonstration records

For additional materials please review the Campus Demonstration records [04.CD]. The collection includes materials pertaining to the conflicts, protests, rallies, and movements at Eastern Michigan University. The bulk of the material is dated 1968 to 1970 and relates to race relations in the context of the Civil Rights movement, as well as anti-war/violence demonstrations in response to the conflict in Vietnam. Materials include correspondence, meeting minutes, clippings, pamphlets, and newsletters. Explore the collection here: http://aspace.emich.edu


        The United States officially entered into the war in Vietnam in 1965, when President Johnson signing the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. From the beginning there was widespread opposition from American citizens about entering into the war. While fear of communism was strong, the Korean War was still in the American citizens’ minds. Many oppositions rose from the Vietnam War being the first “television war” or the first “living room war.”  For the first time footage of the war was being broadcast into the homes of American television viewers. While most of the footage was deemed “family-friendly” and was not particularly graphic, it did give Americans a glimpse into what was happening in a way they would not have otherwise seen. Most of the opposition and protest of the war in Vietnam came from America’s youth.

       The sixties and seventies were all about social progress and cultural change and it was the youth of America making the change. The youth in America had more power than ever before and they used it.  Peace, love, and freedom are the trademarks of the era and the Anti-Vietnam war protests that took place are perfect examples of this attitude. College students in particular had a lot to say about President Johnson’s and President Nixon’s policies concerning Vietnam and used their First Amendment rights to show their dissent. The students at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) were no exception: sit-ins, marches, strikes, rallies, guest speakers, underground newspapers, campus organizations, and other forms of protest were all methods in which EMU students and the nation used to showed their dissent with the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

Project Credit

The History of Campus Demonstrations guide was created by Aleesa Wright as part of her course work for HIST489L4.