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May 3, 1968

Columbia University
New York, New York
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Coming east for a stand at the Electric Circus in New York City, the Dead swooped into an occupied Columbia University and played in solidarity with the strikers. The occupation was an attempt “to stop the university from building its gym on public land in Morningside Park (which smacked of Jim Crow, with an entrance for the overwhelmingly white students on top of the hill and a separate entrance for the overwhelmingly Black community on the bottom) and to extract Columbia from research that aided the Pentagon’s war in Vietnam,” as a history of the Dead’s role relates

Without administration permission and amidst a heavy police presence, strike organizers smuggled the Dead “on campus to Low Library Plaza in the back of a bread delivery truck. Equipment and all.” As Mickey explained, “We were already jamming away before the security and police could to stop us.”

The Columbia Spectator reported that “People were dancing or just moving their bodies where they sat. Students lounged on the ledges of dorm windows, smiling, waving strike signs; even three-piece suits in the journalism school windows looked pleased.” But you can watch some of the show yourself. The first video is crispier, but the second has synced video and audio.

Grateful Dead - Columbia U., New York, N.Y. 05-03-1968 from Davidaron on Vimeo.

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