Free Speech Movement

The People’s Museum: Evelyn Orantes Connects Oaklanders with the OMCA

When Evelyn Orantes studied history at UC Berkeley, she lived just a few blocks from the Oakland Museum. To her and her roommates the museum seemed as inaccessible as a castle, complete with moat. The Class of ’99 had gotten involved with Chicano politics while at Berkeley, so when she finally went to the museum for its Day of the Dead celebration, it wasn’t to enjoy but to see how OMCA was co-opting the Mexican holiday. Read more about The People’s Museum: Evelyn Orantes Connects Oaklanders with the OMCA »

Can’t We All Get Along? Case Studies of Racial Tensions In and Around Progressive Berkeley

Science tells us that race is in our heads, not in our genes; it’s all a social construct.

It’s an observation that seems to illuminate everything and nothing at once. It makes it sound so arbitrary and trivial—a trick of the mind. And yet history tells us that race has mattered enormously. And the news emphasizes how much it still matters today in terms of what researchers call “life outcomes”: Your chances of securing a loan, for example; or of getting a good education; or of being shot by the police. Read more about Can't We All Get Along? Case Studies of Racial Tensions In and Around Progressive Berkeley »

From the Fall 2015 Questions of Race issue of California.

Singing It Right Out Loud: How Protest Songs Have Propelled Progressive Politics

Name a progressive cause from the 20th century, and odds are it reverberated to the soundtrack of protest music.

Singing together “helps unify people and bring people together with a common message,” says Terry Garthwaite, who sang at protests on the UC Berkeley campus during the Free Speech Movement and went on to found the pioneering Berkeley rock band Joy of Cooking in 1967. “I think the Free Speech Movement benefited greatly from the musical legacy of the civil rights movement, which of course was still going strong.” Read more about Singing It Right Out Loud: How Protest Songs Have Propelled Progressive Politics »

The FSM at 50: Old Activists Never Say Die

October 1 marked the 50th anniversary of the birth of the Free Speech Movement in 1964. Following Jack Weinberg’s arrest for political and free speech tabling on campus–Jack’s the famous Guy in the Police Car–some 3,000 students surrounded the police car that had driven onto Sproul Plaza. Mario Savio and other student activists mounted and spoke to the crowd from the car’s roof. They stayed for 32 hours. Read more about The FSM at 50: Old Activists Never Say Die »

Free Speech Rhetoric and Reality: Why Savio, Kerr and Reagan Were All “Radicals”

Fifty years ago this October 1, thousands of UC Berkeley students spontaneously sat down around a police car on Sproul Plaza and held it captive for 33 hours in protest of a University rule against political activity on campus. Over the next three months, the Free Speech Movement, as it became known, led a series of demonstrations that convulsed the campus and defeated the ban. Read more about Free Speech Rhetoric and Reality: Why Savio, Kerr and Reagan Were All "Radicals" »

From the Fall 2014 Radicals issue of California.

Radicals Revisited: Eyewitnesses to Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement Mark 50th Anniversary

How time flies! This fall will be the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, and FSM veterans will return to campus for a reunion that will feature the usual events, plus some others you might not have anticipated.

For instance, are you ready for FSM: The Musical? Produced by Stagebridge in association with Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the full-length musical production will have its first performance September 27 on Berkeley Rep’s Thrust Stage, with two additional performances the following day. Read more about Radicals Revisited: Eyewitnesses to Berkeley's Free Speech Movement Mark 50th Anniversary »

From the Summer 2014 Apocalypse issue of California.
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