A History of the Howard University Student Protest of 1989
New York University Press 2019
We Are Worth Fighting For: A History of the Howard University Student Protest of 1989(NYU Press, 2019) is the first history of the 1989 Howard University protest. The three-day occupation of the university’s Administration Building was a continuation of the student movements of the sixties and a unique challenge to the politics of the eighties. Upset at the university’s appointment of the Republican strategist Lee Atwater to the Board of Trustees, students forced the issue by shutting down the operations of the university. The protest, inspired in part by the emergence of “conscious” hip hop, helped to build support for the idea of student governance and drew upon a resurgent black nationalist ethos. At the center of this story is a student organization known as Black Nia F.O.R.C.E. Co-founded by Ras Baraka, the group was at the forefront of organizing the student mobilization at Howard during the spring of 1989 and thereafter.
We Are Worth Fighting For explores how black student activists—young men and women— helped shape and resist the rightward shift and neoliberal foundations of American politics. This history adds to the literature on Black campus activism, Black Power studies, and the emerging histories of African American life in the 1980s.
Joshua M. Myers teaches Africana Studies in the Department of Afro-American Studies at Howard University. He serves on the editorial board of The Compass and is editor of A Gathering Together: Literary Journal.Latif Tarik is Assistant Professor of History at Elizabeth City State University located in Elizabeth City, NC. He is Elizabeth City State University history program coordinator, editorial board member for the digital journal Evoke: A Historical, Theoretical, and Cultural Analysis of Africana Dance and Theatre, and serves as book review editor for the Southern Conference of African American Studies, Latif is a contributor to Race and Ethnicity In America From Pre-Contact to the Present, Islam and the Black Experience African American History Reconsidered, African Religions Beliefs and Practices through History, and Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies.