Joseph Grant to President Robert C. Edwards

The contents of Joseph Grant's letter to Pres. R. C. Edwards announcing the student walk-out.

In 1969, Joseph Grant led the Student League for Black Identity as President. In a detailed Letter to President R. C. Edwards, he explains how “the majority of white students are restrained from abusing black students only by the administration” (Grant 1969). This letter was the beginning of the media coverage into the protest, with Grant saying “It is our desire to inform you that we will release this letter to the news media at 10:00 a.m. October 27th, 1969.” (Grant, 1969).
As SLBI President, Joseph Grant not only spoke for himself but for many others in the same situation. Grant implies that the situation is misunderstood by both parties, black and white alike. The purpose of the letter was to inform President Edwards that the majority of the black population would be leaving campus, without creating any more difficulty than was already present. Grant approached the matter peacefully, saying that “Accordingly we do not wish to be provoked into defending ourselves physically.” (Grant 1969). However, this letter is special due to the fact that it was intended to bring statewide attention to the protests that were going on in and around Clemson. Releasing the letter to the news media was a step further for the protest, so that there could be a movement not only in Clemson to stop the discriminatory abuse, but in the surrounding area, and even in the whole state. This letter was different also in the aspect that it wasn’t addressing a racial complaint, and instead was informing the public that African Americans were leaving campus instead of staying through the abuse. This letter directly correlates into the Outside Media Response, being that it came next.

(Image: digitalcollection.clemson.edu)

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