international timeline since 1625
The full history of student protest globally is out of the scope of this archive.
Below is a condensation of events most relevant to Black Student Activism.
To say that the history of the Haitian revolution begins with the French Revolution (1789-1799) or the arrival of Christopher Columbus to Northern Hispaniola (1492), is to obscure the long lasting struggles of Indigenous and enslaved Black and Brown peoples of Haiti and the surrounding areas. Amongst other Indigenous Peoples of the Caribbean, the Taíno Peoples’ lands include what is now Cuba, Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti), Jamaica, Puerto Rico, The Bahamas, as well as parts of the Lesser Antilles.
Built by enslaved Africans and the Indigenous Taíno, immense capital was made in the Spanish then French administered colony of San Domingue through the transportation of nearly one million enslaved African Peoples, and the plantation system.
Organised rebellions by enslaved peoples breaks out and are lead by Boukman, Biassou, Toussaint, Jeannot, Francois, Dessalines, and Cristophe. A twelve-year violent struggle for human rights and independence ensues.
August 29, 1793
After the Revolution
At the beginnings of its establishment as a country, the people of Haiti were faced with competing political forces and many other challenges to come. The Haitian Revolution is seen by many as the most pivotal revolts in history, resulting in the establishment of the first autonomous Black state of the “New World”, as well as setting into motion the continuing take-down of European expansionist and Imperial projects.
South Africa was the site of large-scale student activism concurrent with larger civilian unrest during the struggle against apartheid. Students played a pivotal role in this uprising, and unfortunately also incurred some of the worst violence and governmental prosecution.
Overview of South African Black student activism organization.
March 12, 1960
June 16, 1976
Over 10,000 students in the town of Soweto, South Africa march in opposition to a decree imposing Afrikaans as the official language taught in middle and high schools. Police fire on the crowd, killing two, and sparking an uprising that spread across the major urban centers of South Africa.
#Rhodesmustfall, aimed at removing statues and monuments dedicated to Cecil Rhodes on South African college campuses, takes off.
Brazil's student protest history includes a clash between the UNE, an organization representing students, and opposing conservative groups, including the new governmental regime of 1964.
History of Student Protest of Brazil. A synopsis of student activism in Brazil beginning in 1930 and ending in 1968.
Formation of the União Nacional dos Estudantes (UNE), an organization representing millions of students designed to improve higher education conditions. The group became antifascist and was active during WWII, protesting against Brazil’s failure to denounce Axis powers.
In the wake of a military coup, the UNE was targeted by conservative groups for siding with the previous president João Goulart. The organization’s headquarters was burned down by conservative civilians.The new regime saw the UNE as antagonistic and threatening. In November of 1964 they passed Law No. 4464, also known as “Lei Suplicy”This law made the UNE illegal, and furthermore criminalized politicization and activism in the classroom.
Protesters in favor of first female Brazilian President (not just a student protest, but students were heavily involved).
Recently, Guyana has faced many protests over tuition increases combined with sub-par facilities, which have not improved appreciably in the face of the tuition hikes.
Paris has been romanticized as an accepting place for Black folks, especially Black artists. The contrast between this myth and the reality of institutionalized racism and history of colonization has created a hotspot for Black student protests.
Large protests ensue after “two French youths of Malian and Tunisian descent were electrocuted as they fled the police.”
July 19, 2016
“Death while in police custody of Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old black man,” brought the Black Lives Matter Movement of Paris into the spotlight as protests sparked across the country.
February 23, 2016
Students protest the rape of a black student.
The year of “Everyone to the Barricades,” as described by the Guardian. Beyond the United States, 1968 saw a wave of student uprisings, and political upheaval across the globe. The intensity and culture of protests varied across nations.
March 8, 1968
Polish political crisis began.
March 8, 1968
Summer Olympics in Mexico City.
a student collective that produced a vast amount of artwork in Paris during the protests.
October 2, 1968
Government forces and police kill between 30 and 300 protesting civilians, mainly students, as part of a larger “Dirty War” of political repression.
The killing of Edson Luis at the hands of police sparked nationwide protests, culminating in the passage of Institutional Act No. 5, which ushered in an era of governmental surveillance and restriction of civil liberties.