Yale Alumni War Memorial

Constructed by the alumni of Yale in 1926-27, this cenotaph stands on the Hewitt Quadrangle, memorializing the sacrifices of the “men of Yale” during World War I. Students pass it every day on the way to eat at Commons, the central dining hall. The carvings include symbols of liberty—eagles and ornamental garlands—as well as tanks, guns, and “other elements of technological warfare.” The lone woman in the historical photograph here holds a sign which declares the group the Students for a Democratic Society and agitates for an alliance between students and workers. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the SDS pushed for full coeducation, the rights of workers, and, finally, for a fair trial for the Black Panthers in the spring of 1970. In one popular case from November of 1969, 44 students were suspended for attending a sit-in led by the SDS on behalf of Colia Williams, a black dining hall worker who had allegedly been fired following a run-in with a student manager. Despite the suspensions, the sit-in proved successful and Williams was reinstated.