Recent demonstrations a reminder of 1968


As I sat and watched the NYPD clear out the student encampment at Columbia University, I was reminded of the college demonstrations of 1968 which, also, occurred throughout the country.

Dr. Grayson Kirk (1903-1997) is one of Fayette County’s most famous sons. He was born to a farmer-educator near Jeffersonville. He was a professor of government at Columbia when Dwight Eisenhower was serving as president of Columbia. When Eisenhower became President of the United States, Kirk replaced him as the president of Columbia in 1953.

There were many college student demonstrations against the war in Vietnam in the spring of 1968. In April 1968, students at Columbia participated in an eight-day five building takeover of campus. President Kirk called in the police to clear the campus. Many faculty and students resented the involvement of the police. Kirk resigned shortly afterwards. He died in 1997 and is buried in the Jeffersonville Cemetery beside his wife.

Williard Kirk (1897-1974), the older brother of Grayson, remained on the family farm, located on Kirk Road near Jeffersonville. He became famous among the farm community with his expertise in growing and exhibiting ears of corn. He was so successful on a national level he became known as the Corn King.

Phil Grover

Fayette County

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