Cuban Blockade Protest at IU

I’m back!  Sorry for the gap in blogging, but I’ve been working behind the scenes to get

Pro- and Anti- blockade marchers

some actual pages up in the new site.  They won’t be public for quite some time, but I will be presenting snippets of the exhibit pages as I create them. Here’s the first one:

On October 24, 1962, members of the Ad Hoc Committee to Oppose U.S. Aggression in Cuba staged a protest of President Kennedy’s naval blockade of Cuba.  Denouncing the blockade as a belligerent and imperialistic action, approximately 30 members of the recently assembled student group marched through the IUB campus towards Bloomington’s courthouse.  At the same time a pro-blockade rally was held by members of the conservative group Young Americans for Freedom, although that group carefully chose to assemble far away from the other demonstration.  Thousands of unaffiliated students soon assembled to follow and heckle the small anti-blockade group, although contemporary reports vary widely as to the exact number present.  As the protesters moved on to Kirkwood Avenue they were assaulted by a non-student who worked at a local pizza parlor.  Further scuffles soon broke out, and the group retreated back to the main library building (now Franklin Hall) on campus.  Within a few hours both the crowd and protesters dispersed.

Conservative Pro-blockade rallyWhile this incident was short-lived, it served as a harbinger for future events at IU.Shortly thereafter the Young Socialist Alliance (YSA), of which many of the protestors were members, came under fire from Monroe Country prosecuting attorney Thomas Hoadley.  Hoadley alleged that the activities of the student organization were subversive, and thus illegal.  The university stood behind the group, recognizing their right to assemble.  After four years of legal wrangling all charges were dismissed, but the battle lines had been drawn.  The YSA students were emblematic of a new type of student, which would increasingly have a voice in campus activities as the decade advanced.

Materials for this exhibit have been pulled from the IU  Archives reference files, student government records, and IU News Service photo collections.  Want to learn more?  Contact the archives!