The Hidden History of 1970s Black Youth Protest in Columbus and the Fight for Educational Equality

black and white image of a young African American man in handcuffs being moved by a crowd of white men including police officers
February 14, 2024

4:30 pm
Clark Hall Room 206
1110 Bellflower Road

Screening and Q&A with Dr. Simone Drake, Scholar and Documentary Filmmaker.

Shutdown is a documentary film about a profound political coming of age that happened in Columbus, Ohio in turbulent 1971. The film tells the story of a group of passionate Black teens who fought for the equality they believed they deserved — with perilous results. The teens at the center of the story lived in Linden, a community in the throes of a dramatic shift from being a white, working class neighborhood to becoming a predominantly Black working-class enclave. Linden McKinley High School was experiencing that same rapid change. White flight, destructive urban renewal strategies, and racial tension all resulted in the volatile landscape in Linden. Indeed, the entire city of Columbus was experiencing the social and political conflict exploding across the rest of the country. The Vietnam War was raging, the Black Power movement was on the rise, and women were demanding an equal place at the table. The Linden high schoolers who called themselves 'The Black Student Union' wanted their school (and their curriculum) to include and reflect Black culture and history. Inspired by the Civil Rights and Black Power movements (and supported by various adults), these teens mobilized themselves and took action. They were not prepared for the harsh and traumatic consequences that followed, which left scars that endured for decades. Eventually, however, the actions of this small but mighty group of teens created a domino effect that led all the way to the Supreme Court.

Shutdown is the story of determined Black youth who dared to stand up to the prevailing power structure and not only lived to tell the tale, but ultimately were the catalyst for bigger change than they ever imagined.

A discussion with the film’s producer, Simone Drake, Hazel C. Youngberg Trustees Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at The Ohio State University, will immediately follow the film screening.

Refreshments will be provided.

Registration requested.  Register HERE.

Click HERE for Professor Drake's faculty page.

Click HERE for a Columbus Dispatch article about Shutdown.

About the speaker:

Simone C. Drake is the Hazel C. Youngberg Trustees Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at The Ohio State University. She is a faculty affiliate at the Moritz College of Law, the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, the Criminal Justice Research Center, the Department of African American and African Studies, and the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
Simone’s teaching and research focuses on how people of African descent in the Americas negotiate the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, class, and nation through the lenses of critical race, gender, and legal studies. She is particularly interested in how the humanities inform public policy and law. She is the author of When We Imagine Grace: Black Men and Subject Making(University of Chicago Press 2016) and Critical Appropriations: African American Women and the Construction of Transnational Identity (Louisiana State University Press 2014, Southern Literary Studies Series); co-editor (with Dwan Henderson) of Are You Entertained?: Black Popular Culture in the Twenty-First Century (Duke University Press 2020); co-author (with James Phelan, Robyn Warhol, and Lisa Zunshine) Black Women’s Stories of Everyday Racism: Narrative Analysis for Social Change (Rutgers 2024); editor of The Oxford Handbook on African American Women’s Writing (in progress); and numerous journal articles and book chapters.  
In 2020, she was the Alisa Mellon Bruce Visiting Senior Fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art where she did research on her forthcoming book (Trillium 2024), Becoming Educated: A Midwest Story,which considers the intersection between law, education, visual art, and music in relationship to the desegregation of Columbus (OH) Public Schools. She is also the executive producer of the documentary feature Shutdown (Celia C. Peters, director/producer and Allen A. Coleman producer) that chronicles a 1971 police raid at Linden-McKinley High School (Columbus, OH) and its intersections with the founding of Black Studies at Ohio State University; and the digital humanities project (with Eric Herschthal, Allen Coleman, Alison Furlong, and Computer Science Capstone students), Black Women’s Birthing Narratives.
An alumna of the HERS Institute, the American Council on Education, and other leadership programs, Simone served as the former Vice Chair and Chair of the Department of African American and African Studies at Ohio State University. She is also the former Director of the Department’s Community Extension Center, an off-campus 7,000 square foot facility located in a historic African American neighborhood on the Near Eastside of Columbus. Simone is co-PI with Katrina Lee (Moritz College of Law) on an American Arbitration Association-International Center for Dispute Resolution grant in partnership with the Divided Community Project and the Columbus Division of Police. She has served as an expert consultant on civil rights, equity, and leadership for other universities, corporations, non-profits, philanthropic foundations, law enforcement agencies, and with K-12 institutions on African American Studies curriculum design and culturally competent pedagogy. Simone has had the honor of receiving many awards and recognition for her commitment to community engagement, mentoring, and advancing diversity and equity. 
Simone received her doctorate in English Literature from the University of Maryland-College Park, a Master in the Study of Law from OSU Moritz College of Law along with a dual master’s degree in English and African American and African Studies at OSU, and a bachelor’s degree in Classical Civilization and English from Denison University.