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Black students clash with police at White House: 1969 | by Washington Area Spark
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Black students clash with police at White House: 1969

Police halt an effort to throw a casket over the White House fence protesting the Vietnam War October 15, 1969 as part of the first Moratorium.


Over 100 students from Coolidge High School sought to enter the White House grounds with a black pinewood coffin containing letters from students asking President Nixon to end the war.


The group also carried a number of black crosses to symbolize black Americans killed in Vietnam.


Refused entry by White House guards, the students pressed forward anyway. Park and metropolitan police bolstered the guards and arrested three students and one passerby.


500 bystanders gathered around the confrontation angrily shouting at police to let the arrested students go.


Early in the antiwar movement, black and white protesters staged combined events. However as black nationalism gained sway among some segments of the civil rights movement, black activists began staging their own antiwar demonstrations.


The moratorium was a soft approach to a nationwide strike against the war in Vietnam and involved upwards of two million people across the U.S.


Events were held at campuses and churches across the greater Washington, D.C. area during the day capped by a march from the Washington Monument to the White House in the evening led by Coretta Scott King.


A second moratorium was held the following month where upwards of 500,000 staged a massive march on Washington demanding an end to the war in Vietnam.


For more information and related images to the October 1969 Moratorium, see


For more information and related images to the November 1969 Moratorium, see


Photographer is unknown. The image is a United Press International photograph housed in the D.C. Library Washington Star Collection.


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Taken on October 15, 1969