On April 22, 1968, members of Black student organizations, For Members Only (FMO) and Afro-American Student Union (AASU), presented a list of demands to the Northwestern University administration in response to discriminatory campus policies and practices and to heighten the awareness of Black student’s experiences of racial insensitivity on campus. When the demands were not met, on May 3, 1968, approximately 120 African American students occupied the Bursar’s Office, Northwestern University’s business office. After a 38-hour demonstration, Black students and the Northwestern University administration came to a resolution of developing advisory boards around the admissions process, recruitment of Black students to the University, review of financial aid packages, and open housing in Evanston, to offer equitable housing options and counseling, and to establish of the Department of African American Studies and a Black student union, today called the Black House.
Read about the history of the Bursar's Office Takeover. This overview presents the reasons students submitted demands to the University, the events of May 3-4, 1968, and the resolution and legacy of the demonstration.
Scroll through selected key events in this timeline to learn about the Bursar's Office Takeover from a chronological perspective.
Meet the Participants
Learn about the participants of the Bursar's Office Takeover. There is a selection of biographies about the participants that discuss their roles in the Takeover and implementation of the "May 4th Agreement."
View images from May 3, 1968.
Learn more about the Bursar's Office Takeover by viewing additional documents and visiting Northwestern University Archives.