History of Protest in Oberlin Through Review Headlines

Jan. 21, 1881, Oberlin Weekly News Wise and Otherwise.

This section, “Wise and Otherwise,” seems to provide tidbits of wisdom on the front page of the paper. Wendell Phillips, an abolitionist and Native rights advocate, is mentioned in the article, which reads, “no reform, moral or intellectual, ever came down from the upper classes of society. ‘Each and all,’ says [Phillips], ‘come up from the protest of martyr and victim.’”

To the right of the masthead, this 1933 edition of the Review reads: “Attend Rally at 9:30 Tonight,” likely indicating one against the Nazi regime given the context of another front page article titled “Cosmopolitans Review Hitler’s German Rule.”

April 11, 1935, The Oberlin ReviewUnited Campus Protests Against War Tomorrow and Student Speakers Will Denounce Strife Following Parade

Sept. 25, 1941, Oberlin News-TribuneFarmers Organize Wheat Quota Protest

By 1941, Ohio had formed a statewide Wheat Quota Protest Association in response to the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, which set regulations on the wheat market. State chairman of the WQPA Russell Kiko was set to speak to Lorain County farmers.

March 23, 1965, The Oberlin ReviewStudents Join NAACP Pickets To Protest Segregated Union

June 12, 1965, The Oberlin ReviewPeace, Pease Spark Political Activism Vietnam War Protests, Fast

1965 Hi-o-hiEnd U.S. Aggression in Vietnam protest sign

1965 signified was the halfway point of the Vietnam War. Protests in Oberlin echoed those around the country with words against violence and in support of the NAACP. 1965 was also the year the Voting Rights Act was passed.

April 12, 1968, The Oberlin ReviewTroops To Protect Enlistment Officers

May 7, 1976, The Oberlin ReviewStudent workers strike; noon rally attracts 400

Nov. 19, 1976, The Oberlin Review300 attend Wilder rally against cuts, tuition hikes

Nov. 23, 1976, The Oberlin Review90 hold Mudd vigil While trustees meet

The 1970s saw the rise of an intense nationwide labor movement. Once again, Obies
joined in, supporting local farmers as well as their fellow student and faculty workers.

March 18, 1985, The Oberlin Review Festive mood at protest

May 2, 1986, The Oberlin ReviewShantytown, Oberlin Students seek confrontation

Dec. 12, 1986, The Oberlin ReviewTrustees, students clash on divestment Protesters disrupt Board, challenge OC investments

With pieces about everything from the Cold War and anti-Reagan sentiments
to South Africa, coverage in the ’80s seems to highlight that protests of Oberlin were at their peak.

April 20, 1990, The Oberlin ReviewProtesters and Police Clash Friday march ends in violence.

April 3, 1992, The Oberlin ReviewStudents rally and petition support custodial concerns … Trustees confronted with voices of dissent

At this point, it’s hard not to see threads in subjects of protest and activism at Oberlin, which of course mimic those of fellow progressive U.S. activists. By and large, though, the ’90s were characterized by racial protests and movement.

Sept. 27, 2002, The Oberlin ReviewStudents Will Protest Bush and
Students Plan to Protest War Rankled Obies in D.C. Today, Plan Resistance in NYC

March 7, 2003, The Oberlin ReviewBombs to drop, students to walk

In the early 2000s, a special issue on American perspectives of war, primarily concerning American interference in the Middle East, was published.

Nov. 11, 2016, The Oberlin ReviewStudents Call for Gibson’s Bakery Boycott

At Oberlin, the end of this decade was dominated by coverage of Gibson’s Bakery. Students and faculty alike boycotted and protested against the bakery, accusing the owners of racism, which mirrored an April 27, 1990 headline: “Protesters accuse Gibson of racism.”

Oct. 7, 2022, The Oberlin ReviewFaculty, Students Organize Teach-In, Protest Ahead of Board Bylaw Vote

More recently, there have been fewer such headlines. The Review invites its readers to consider this in the context of Oberlin’s collective journalistic history.