About this Special Edition: 1971-2021

Moratorium 1971 honoring Kent State deaths

On the fourth floor of the Ell Student Center from 1967-1973, students from Divisions A and B each put out a great newspaper. 

In part, this was because of the times. Protests against the Vietnam War and movements for civil rights, women’s liberation, gay rights and environmentalism rolled through what had been the most politically conservative campus in the Greater Boston area. 

Assassination stalked the country: first, on April 4, 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., in Memphis to support striking Black sanitation workers; a few weeks later, U.S. Sen. Bobby Kennedy, on the presidential campaign trail.

Students marched multiple times on Washington demanding an end to the war. President Lyndon Johnson exited, and Richard Nixon entered. 

After the United States invaded Cambodia in 1970, a national college strike swept the nation, closing the campus. 

Boston police rioted twice that year: in February, with the appearance of San Francisco State College president S.I. Hayakawa at the Distinguished Speaker Series, and then in May after the killing of four students at Kent State.

Covering and commenting on this tumultuous era were a diverse group of people — men and women, gay and straight, white, Asian and Black — their journalism skills sharpened by co-op assignments at major, midsize and small newspapers. They hammered out their stories on heavy, gray typewriters; used glue and tape to cut and paste paper copy; developed photos in chemical baths in darkrooms; and saw their work set at Ariston Press, where ancient linotype machines generated “hot type” that was one step removed from the printing press invented by Johannes Gutenberg.  

On Friday morning, without fail, the papers were dumped at main common areas around campus.

This 50th anniversary newspaper is a tribute to those students and those times. The camaraderie forged in those white hot days has continued for many of us for decades. As this issue was being put together, we searched out other colleagues not seen for years, and they readily joined the effort.

But this compilation of stories, images and songs is more than a nostalgic look at times gone by. It is an attempt to start a conversation and to spur reflection among our generation and the students of today. The issues of five decades ago are still with us, at Northeastern and other universities: systemic racism, economic inequality, police violence, climate change, the advancement of women, LBGTQ rights and the full inclusion into society of people with disabilities. America remains an unfulfilled promise.

Like all good journalists, we hope to inform, enlighten and, yes, entertain. How well we have succeeded we leave to the judgment of our readers.

Then 1971

Now 2021