September 1964-January 1965: Free Speech Movement

The Free Speech Movement (FSM) had its beginnings with students involved with CORE (Congress on Racial Equality) and the Southern civil rights movement.
     In the summer of 1964 some students at the University of California Berkeley had gone south to work with CORE and returned for the new school year in September. The school president, Clark Kerr, restricted political activities and suspended eight students of CORE.
     One of those suspended was Mario Savio, who had taught at a Freedom School run by CORE in McComb, Miss. (Savio would later become the spokesman for the movement.)
     California and the United States were in the middle of the Cold War at the time, when any political activity outside of the norm was considered subversive and labeled as Communist. Kerr and many other Californians saw the spread of the civil rights movement to Berkeley in this light and tried to stop it.
     On October 1, Jack Weinberg was arrested for running a CORE table on campus. Spontaneously, hundreds of students surrounded the police car Weinberg was being taken away in. Weinberg, the squad car, and hundreds of students would stay for the next 32 hours until Weinberg was released under a compromise worked out between President Kerr and the students. In response, the FSM was formed on October 4 with the goals of gaining the right to free speech for student activists.
     Over the next several months the FSM had a running battle with the school administration using rallies, marches, petitions and arrests to press their point. By December 1964, the students had won their demands and opened up political activity at Berkeley.
     The Free Speech Movement became a sign of the power of student activism that would be a trademark of the 1960s.

-- Excerpted from Oakland Museum of California. Note: In early January 1965, Berkeley Chancellor Edward W. Strong was replaced by Martin Meyerson, who issued new regulations concerning political activity that largely reflect what the Free Speech Movement had been demanding.

-- Photo of students in Sproul Plaza surrounding police car, with Mario Savio speaking from roof of car; October 1, 1964 (Lon Wilson; The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley)

* Summary from "Encylopedia of the Sixties" (2012): @
* Summary from Constitutional Rights Foundation: @
* Summary by Jo Freeman: @
* Chronology (Free Speech Movement Digital Archive): @
* Free Speech Movement Archives: @
* FSM 50 (UC Berkeley website): @
* SLATE Archives: @
* Documents (Free Speech Movement Archives): @
* Newspaper front pages (Free Speech Movement Archives): @
* Press coverage, documents, other items (Barbara Toby Stack): @
* Photos (Calisphere, University of California): @ and @
* Photos from Sproul Hall sit-in, December 1964 (Richard A. Muller): @
* Audio of events (Pacifica Radio Archives): @
* Social Activism Sound Recording Project: The Free Speech Movement and Its Legacy (UC Berkeley): @
* "Free Speech Movement: Sounds and Songs of the Movement" (1965; Internet Archive): @
* December 2 speech by Mario Savio (text, audio, video; from American Rhetoric): @
* FBI files on Savio: @ 
* "Freedom's Orator: Mario Savio and the Radical Legacy of the 1960s" (Robert Cohen, 2009): @
* "Heated Dispute Focuses World Attention on Berkeley" (Associated Press, December 13, 1964): @ 
* "Panty Raids? No! Tough Campus Revolt" (Life magazine, December 18, 1964): @
* "Berkeley Campus in Revolt" (Michael Shute, New Politics, Fall 1964): @ (Note: many other contemporary articles are available through www.unz.org)
* "A Special Supplement: Berkeley and the Fate of the Multiversity" (New York Review of Books, March 11, 1965): @
* "The Beginning: Berkeley, 1964" (Max Heirich, 1968): @
* "The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage" (Todd Gitlin, 1987): @
* "Making Peace with the 60s" (David Burner, 1996): @
* "Berkeley at War: The 1960s" (W.J. Rorabough, 1989): @ 
* "The Free Speech Movement: Coming of Age in the 1960s" (David Lance Goines, 1993): @
* "The Free Speech Movement: Reflections on Berkeley in the 1960s" (2002): @ 
* "At Berkeley in the Sixties: The Education of an Activist, 1961-1965" (Jo Freeman, 2004): @

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