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“Institutions Need to Be Pushed”: An Oral History of the Allen Building Takeover

On February 13th, 1969, approximately 60 Duke students occupied the first floor of the Allen Building to protest the university’s failure to meet the needs of black students. Their demands included the creation of a black studies program, a summer transitional program for black freshmen, and a black student union.


Yvonne Mokgoro

Yvonne Mokgoro is a former justice of the South African Constitutional Court. She was appointed by Nelson Mandela in 1994, and served until she retired in 2009 at the end of her 15-year term. Along with Albie Sachs, she played a pivotal role not only in landmark judicial decisions, but also in shaping the iconography of the court, particularly its focus on ubuntu and community-based justice.

Cory Booker

Cory Booker, the current Democratic junior senator of New Jersey — and its first Black senator — was the mayor of Newark from 2006 to 2013. He is known for his commitment to education reform.

Booker was interviewed at Duke in 2009.

Martin Dempsey

Army general and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

What is Rutherfurd Living History?

The Living History program is an innovative interview platform, oral history archive and media lab. We’re researching and creating new ways to use recorded interviews as tools for investigating, understanding and narrating current events and issues. The program is part of the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy.


The Rutherfurd Living History Program's archives of newsmakers, news breakers, and more, running back to the early 1970s.


Groups of interviews clustered around a topic, including voting rights in North Carolina and rural poverty in the South.


Explore interactive timelines that connect and annotate the interviews on this site.


Explore the Rutherfurd Living History blog.