CUNY Digital History Archive

CUNY Digital History Archive

A participatory project to collect and preserve the histories of the City University of New York — A work in progress
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Medgar Evers College - The Pursuit of a Community's Dream

In this short book, Medgar Evers College: The Pursuit of a Community's Dream, CUNY retired professors Florence Tager and Zala Highsmith-Taylor tell the story of the founding of the college. As an institution born largely out of 1960s [...]

CUNY SEEK and Open Admissions Oral Histories

This is a website of oral histories by CUNY students and teachers telling stories about the founding and early years of SEEK at City College. It also contains stories about teaching writing in the first decade of Open Admissions across CUNY.

A Proposal for the Establishment of Community College Number Seven

This proposal for the founding of Community College Number Seven (later named Medgar Evers College) was put forward by the Board of Higher Education in November 1967. In this excerpt (pages 11-15), the Board establishes their desire to place a new [...]

Minutes of Proceedings: Establishing Community College Number Seven

In these minutes of proceedings from a January 22, 1968 meeting of the Board of Higher Education, the Board resolves to create the "Committee to Seek Presidents for Community Colleges Seven and Eight." The committee is first tasked with filling the [...]

Statement by Chancellor Albert H. Bowker Announcing the Establishment of a New Community College

In this statement by CUNY Chancellor Albert H. Bowker on February 1, 1968 in Brooklyn Borough Hall, Bowker announces the establishment of a new, experimental community college in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. His announcement presents CUNY's hopes [...]

"Julius Edelstein, 93, Dies; Devised CUNY's Open Admissions"

This New York Times obituary describes the career of former Vice-Chancellor Julius C. C. Edelstein, one of the primary architects of the open admissions policy at CUNY.

Telegram from Walter Pinkston to CUNY Chancellor Bowker

Writing on behalf of the Bedford Stuyvesant Coalition on Education Needs and Services, Walter Pinkston demands that Chancellor Albert Bowker halt all planning of the new college until the Board of Higher Education and CUNY have conferred with the [...]

Proposal to Plan and Implement Departmental Programs for Community College No. 7

This document describes previous authorizations regarding the creation of Community College No. 7 (Medgar Evers College) and three additional community colleges. It goes on to detail one of the more unique features of the college: a community [...]

Community's Criteria for the President of Community College No. 7

Created by the Bedford-Stuyvesant community, this paper outlines their criteria for the president of Community College No. 7 (later named Medgar Evers College). Including experience, physical appearance, philosophy and personal background, among the [...]

Minutes of the Board of Higher Education - November 25, 1968

These minutes of proceedings from the November 25, 1968 meeting of the Board of Higher Education record the establishment of new admissions criteria for CUNY four-year institutions as well as university-wide budget requests for the following year. [...]

College of Staten Island Afro-American Society

Members of the Afro-American Society at the College of Staten Island pose for a group photo.

"Taught" by Marie Jean Lederman, 1973

In this piece of narrative nonfiction, Baruch College Professor Marie Jean Lederman reflects on her experience teaching remedial Freshman English at the University Center SEEK in the late 1960s.

Three Who Died for Civil Rights

This exhibit contains items including articles, flyers and logs related to the murders of civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney in Mississippi, 1964. Goodman was a student at Queens College at the time of his death. [...]

Oral History Interview with Allen Ballard

This oral history interview was conducted on April 4, 2014 at SUNY Albany. Allen Ballard grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and arrived at the City College of New York in 1960 as an assistant professor of Political Science. He was one of the [...]

Oral History Interview with Henry Arce

In this interview conducted about CUNY’s Open Admissions program, Arce describes his journey from the NYC Public School system to graduating from college. He credits his mother, who raised him alone in a Puerto Rican, immigrant community, for [...]

Oral History Interview with Stuart Schaar

This interview with Stuart Schaar, Professor Emeritus of Middle East History at Brooklyn College, was conducted by Douglas Medina for his research on Open Admissions at CUNY. Stuart Schaar was raised in the Bronx and attended the City College of [...]

Five Demands

This handout, created by a group of protesting City College students, offers insight into the motivations behind a campus-wide strike in April/May 1969. Black and Puerto Rican students, as well as white supporters, demanded the college meet these [...]

"The Faculty Council Interim Report of the Committee on Enrollment Policy"

This April 1964 report shows the deep conflicts within the CCNY faculty with regards to expanding access to new students. Complaining about limited facilities and student unreadiness, the faculty committee resisted both loosening admissions [...]

"Will Everyman Destroy the University?"

In this article, CUNY’s new Vice Chancellor Timothy Healy writes of SEEK as both a practical and theoretical model for open admissions. He cites the success of the program--intended to improve higher education access for the underserved--as proof [...]

"A three-pronged experimental approach to the problem of undiscovered college potential among the young men and women of New York City"

This memorandum from Chancellor Bowker’s office called for three new forms of CUNY desegregation programs (pp. 1-2). This “three-pronged experiment” would be excused from CUNY’s general obligation to admit only students with the highest [...]

Minutes from 4/8/1965 CCNY Faculty Council Meeting

In these notes from a liberal arts and sciences faculty council meeting at City College, CCNY President Gallagher describes a tentative plan to admit 100 “disadvantaged” students into an experimental program in fall 1965. After discussion, the [...]

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