Black Student Union clashes with Seattle police on May 22, 1969.

  • By Alan J. Stein
  • Posted 6/04/1999
  • Essay 1235
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On May 22, 1969, the Black Student Union clashes with police at a demonstration demanding the resignation of one of Seattle Community College's five white trustees and the appointment of one black. A few hundred protestors storm the Edison Technical School (an SCC satellite school), but are cleared out by the Seattle Tactical Squad.

The next morning, another group of 200 assembled at Edison, marching to the nearby Summit School where they paraded noisily through its halls. After returning to Edison, they found the entrance blocked again by the Tactical Squad. Rocks and bricks started flying, and a group charged the police but were driven back with squirts of "Federal Streamer," a hand-held Mace-like spray.

The protestors marched to another SCC satellite, Washington Junior High. By this time, their ranks had swelled. They found the police waiting at the school with tear gas. The protestors retreated to Garfield High School, but the Tactical Squad followed. The march degenerated into a melee of gas, clubs, Molotov cocktails, and shots from an unseen sniper who hit three policemen, all in the buttocks. Only a heavy rainfall that evening finally cooled everyone off.


Walt Crowley, Rites of Passage: A Memoir of the Sixties in Seattle (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995), 137, 270.

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