As of December 31, 2014, I retired from full-time teaching in Humboldt State University's Department of History. While this website will remain online, it is no longer maintained.
History 383 - Dr. Gayle Olson-Raymer
Introduction: Today is our first discussion in the last unit of the class - Getting California Through the Tumultuous Decades - in which we discuss California history beginning in the 1960s and into the early 1990s. Because we don’t have enough time to discuss this era in detail, this unit uses a case study approach in which we cover a few key topics that merit in depth discussion - campus turmoil, Red Power, and the California leadership of three influential governors.
- To explain the 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education and the promise it made to Californians.
- To understand the language of campus turmoil: protest, dissent, civil disobedience.
- To understand the evolving mission of universities throughout U.S. history and the change in that mission envisioned by some UC California administrators in the 1960s.
- To analyze the goals and accomplishments of the Free Speech Movement (FSM).
- To follow the various campus protest movements that occurred in California during the 1960s.
- To discuss some of the myths and realities about student protestors in the 1960s.
Cold Call: 20th cold call on required reading and viewing - read Introduction, Goal 1, 2, and 3 in today's discussion guide AND watch Berkeley in the Sixties.
Goal #1: To explain the 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education and the promise it made to Californians (adapted and excerpted in part from Aaron Bady and Mike Konczal, "From Master Plan to No Plan: The Slow Death of Public Higher Education" in Dissent, Fall 2012 at http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/from-master-plan-to-no-plan-the-slow-death-of-public-higher-education)
While in it's details, the 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education was a "complex and unwieldy piece of legislation," at its heart "it was actually quite simple and intuitive: the Master Plan was nothing more than a blanket commitment from the state to educate all the California students who wanted an education and, in doing so, to facilitate the kind of class mobility that has placed public education at the center of American civic life." The Plan - created by UC president Clark Kerr and signed into California law by Governor Pat Brown - was designed to place all college-bound high school graduates into three categories, and to make it possible for a student to move from the bottom category to the top.
- The top 12.5% of high school graduates could attend the UC System, tuition-free.
- The top 33.3% could attend one of the California State Universities, tuition-free.
- Everyone else could go to one of the many California Community Colleges. Community college graduates had the opportunity to transfer to one of the UCs or CSUs to finish their bachelor’s degree, if their grades were above a certain point.
In theory and to a significant extent in practice, anyone from anywhere in California could, if they worked hard enough, get a bachelor’s degree from one of the best universities in the country almost free of charge. Indeed, the Master Plan explicitly stated that the state should be the primary source of higher education funding by covering the cost of instructional minutes - tuition - while students should pay ancillary costs for things such as laboratories, health services, and student activities - fees.
For nine years, the promise of the Master Plan for a tuition-free college education in California stood firm and the doors were opened to thousands of students. However, beginning in 1969, several major events occurred which eventually ended the promise of the Master Plan and led to the decline of public higher education in California.
- In 1969, Governor Ronald Reagan convinced Californians to relax restrictions on the level of fees that could be assessed. The state began shifting increasing instructional costs - tuition - onto students. By 2011, when UC officially switched from a system of fees to a tuition model, it was simply admitting that so-called "fees" were already high enough to constitute tuition. And on January 14, 2011, the CSU system also clarified that fees differed from tuition - and that they were charging students tuition.
- In 1978, California passed Proposition 13 which greatly restricted the state's ability to raise revenue through property taxes
- In the 1980s, California began a huge prison-building boom which expanded the incarcerated population in California by 500% between 1982 and 2000, thus dramatically diminishing the percentage of total funds available for higher education.
- Over the past several decades, California has accepted more out-of-state students - and thus, fewer and fewer Californian students - who pay much higher tuition rates. Since 2007, the extra $20,000 in tuition money that out-of-state students pay has gone directly to the schools enrolling these students - rather than reverting to the UC as a whole - and this incentivizes each campus to take on fewer California students.
- Between 1960 and 2010, California's population tripled thus leaving less state resources to fund the growing number of students who wanted to go to college.
- Beginning in 1978 as the chart below indicates, California reduced the percentage of the state budget allocated to higher education funding. (Source: Cristina Marie Kersey, What Happened to "Tuition Free' College Education? Explaining Why Fees Have Risen Sharply in the CSU System. 2012.)
In the decades after WWII, California built new facilities, campuses, and new universities at the speed believed necessary to keep pace with student demand.
In the 1950s, the UC system had two campuses at Berkeley and Los Angeles while today, it is a ten-campus system.
- In 1958, Santa Barbara College achieved full university status and became UC Santa Barbara.
- In 1959, the UC Citrus Experiment Station became the new UC Riverside campus, and the Northern Branch of the College of Agriculture was converted into UC Davis.
- In 1960 the Scripps Institute of Oceanography became UC San Diego.
- In 1965, UC Irvine and UC Santa Cruz were built out of nothing at all.
"Each of these universities was a world-class institution almost out of the gate, making it possible for one-eighth of California’s high school graduates to receive a world-class education."
And what about the CSU system and community colleges?
- Between 1957 and 1965, California established eight new CSUs - out of an eventual twenty-four
- Between 1957 and 1978, more than half its present number of 112 community colleges was built.
- Since 1965, California has built only one new UC campus, as well as created three new CSU campuses and two new community colleges..
Why is this a problem?
- While the college-age population is growing and employers require a more educated workforce, California universities are not growing and during the last few years, have actually cut enrollments - even of elligible students. "What has succeeded the Master Plan is no plan; instead of committing to make room for all students, the state now educates only those it has room for."
- Student debt has skyrocketed. In 2010, student loan debt for the first
time surpassed credit card debt.
- Future students will increasingly be educated in the for-profit sector, whose enrollment grew by 235% between 2000 and 2010, from 3 to 9.1% of all enrolled students. For-profits now make up over 25% of all post-secondary institutions in the US. At the same time the government gave up its Master Plan responsibility to educate California students, the for-profit sector expanded to fill the demand.
- California has dramatically increased state funding for prisons disportionately with its increases for higher education, as demonstrated in the above chart.
The Bady and Konczal article ends with the following glum statement:
"Sometimes policy failures are accidental. Sometimes there is a trail of breadcrumbs. In the case of California higher education, it is hard not to notice that policy failures have meant big business for the for-profit industry. And in some cases, that trail of breadcrumbs leads directly to the men and women who run the UC. UC Regent Richard Blum, for example, is not only the largest shareholder in two for-profit universities, Career Education Corporation and ITT Educational Services ... The problem isn’t anything as simple as pure corruption, but the decline of the public university is corporate capital's gain, and investment firms like Blum Capital Partners know this quite well. The educational infrastructure of the future - and in many ways, of the present - is being built out of the very same crumbling public sector that men like Richard Blum have been entrusted with stewarding.
Ronald Reagan may not have seen this coming when he first set out to destroy what he saw as the creeping communism of master-planned and state-funded public education. His vision at the time was essentially negative, reactionary. But the conservative project he put in place in California in the 1960s remains with us today. Reagan was the trendsetter in making higher education into a problem to be solved with fee hikes and police. Other governors approached this problem in different ways, but the decision Reagan made to begin the destruction of the Master Plan hangs over all of them. Today, we can clearly see the results. Limiting the ability of the government to plan for the education of its citizens has left us with the worst of both worlds: students and families with too much debt and too few options."
At the same time that the California Master Plan for Higher Education was taking shape in California, students in both the UC and CSU systems became more politically conscious. With the Civil Rights Movement erupting across the nation, many students turned to campus protest.
Goal #2: To understand the language of campus turmoil: protest, dissent, civil disobedience.
To dissent or protest is to publicly voice a difference of opinion
about or opposition to the status quo, usually for a religious, political,
economic, and/or ideological reason.
Dissenters and protesters are persons who organize by taking
a individual or collective public stand against the status quo for religious,
political, economic, and/or ideological reasons.
Dissent and protest, dissenters and protesters, are terms that
will be used interchangeably in this discusion.
Civil disobedience occurs when a person or group uses passive, nonviolent action to demonstrate their disapproval of an action, policy, and/or law.
Those who practice civil disobedience act as part of an organized group that shares certain moral convictions and that is willing to collectively and nonviolently demonstrate their opposition by trying to force concessions from the government.
The idea of Civil Disobedience was formally put into writing in 1849 when Henry David Thoreau
wrote, "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience." While Thoreau articulated
many important ideas, at least four thoughts dominated many of the
late 20th Century protest movements in the United States:
- The problem in a democracy is that the majority oppress the minority.
Because the majority is absolutely committed to maintaining its powerful
position, it fails to look within and correct itself. Majorities,
then, were inherently unjust.
- Immediate action is necessary to achieve change. Because people become
accomplices to injustice when they do not withdraw support from a government
with which they disagree, they must sever ties with the government and
"break the law."
- Nonviolent civil disobedience is the best method for immediate action.
Because the government does imprison just men, jail is their only "true
place." People must act upon their conscience by challenging the
government, even if it means going to jail.
- One should never abandon protest, even if "blood should flow." Because
many obstacles exist to achieve the goal of having the majority reform
or step aside peaceably, one cannot turn away.
Questions for discussion:
- Are dissent and protest legal activities in the U.S.? In other nations?
- When does dissent and protest become an illegal action in the U.S.?
- What are the historical roots of the word "protest?"
- Is civil disobedience lawful?
Goal #3: To understand the evolving mission of universities throughout U.S. history and the change in that mission envisioned by some UC California administrators in the 1960s
The Evolving Role of the American University
- University - a scholarly environment which emphasizes the oneness of the academic community - oneness of vision, oneness of purpose and aspiration, oneness of enterprise.
- Multiverity - a scholarly environment which emphasizes the diversity of academic communities - graduate and undergraduate, social science and science, academic knowledge and professional training - that reach out to other like-minded communities to make a connection between higher education and the professional world.
The first universities were created over 200 years ago ...
- The educational goal
of the first universities was to teach students to
master their physical environment through a type of "finishing school training."
They emphasized the importance of Christianity, Anglo-European superiority,
and aristocratic disdain for the masses.
- Students were gentlemen-in-waiting - waiting to take their pre-determined
role in society as preachers, merchants, scholars, teachers. Going
to college could not make someone what is was not - it merely confirmed
that a gentlemen was truly a member of the elite.
- Success was measured by how well the student acquired grace and style in
doing what was appropriate to his position.
19th Century universities ...
- The educational goal of the 19th Century university was to help students master their economic environment by emphasizing vocational training.
- Students became vocational apprentices striving for upward mobility.
They could enter a different and better world than the one into which they
- Success was measured by hard work, determination, and an eye for opportunity.
Early 20th Century universities ...
Late 20th Century California modern multiversity ...
- The educational goal of the early 20th Century university was to introduce students to a community of scholars who were dedicated to learning and teaching knowledge for its own sake, to immerse students into the humanities and liberal arts, and to help students
integrate such learning with important social skills - how to be likeable, persuasive, and popular
with all types of people.
- Students became well educated social apprentices. If students supported the status
quo and were apolitical, they could move up in society.
- Success was measured by the Big Man on Campus image, the national prestige
of one's sorority/ fraternity (such at the Zeta Psi at UC Berkeley in this undated photo), one's role in student government.
Campus politics were the only appropriate political avenue. All student decisions
were subject to final adult review.
- The educational goal of the mid-20th Century California university was to link the new knowledge students learned at the university to the nation's economic growth, thereby creating a "knowledge industry" and to tie in the academic system into a market logic that demanded students be job-ready upon graduation.
- Students became "student products" or "raw materials" for the professional world and for the international marketplace.
- Success was measured by how well students were prepared for the world of work.
So, what is the problem with a multiversity?
- While creating more opportunity for research and scholarship, faculty have less time and incentive for mentoring and caring for their students.
- While promoting the relationship between the university and work environment, the liberal arts are diminished, as are courses that promote an understanding of local, national, and global affairs. Without this liberal arts education, students leave the university with an understanding of what they want for their economic future, but without an understanding of the complexity of the nation and world in which they live.
- While emphasizing professional development, we sacrifice intellectual inquiry, analysis and rigor and instead focus on output and competitive advantage.
The big change - the role from university to multiversity - was one of the major issues that propelled California's universities into a decade of turmoil.
This change required a new focus - creating a "knowledge industry" that was explained by University Chancelor Clark Kerr in a speech you already watched in Berkeley in the Sixties. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4J94a_NxLU
Excerpt from Clark Kerr's The Uses of the University (Harvard, 1963)
"The production, distribution, and consumption of 'knowledge' in all its forms is said to account for 29 percent of gross national product ... and 'knowledge production' is growing at about twice the rate of the rest of the economy ... What the railroads did for the second half of the last century and the automobile for the first half of this century may be done for the second half of this century by the knowledge industry: that is, to serve as the focal point for national growth ...The university and segments of industry are becoming more alike. As the university becomes tied into the world of work, the professor - at least in the natural and some of the social sciences - takes on the characteristics of an entrepreneur ... The two worlds are merging physically and psychologically."
So, the problem is clear - In 1964, at the same time some university administrators are embracing the idea of corporatizing and privatizing education, students in California and around the nation were thinking about the university in an entirely different manner. To them, the university was a place where:
- Students worked toward the educational goals of fostering critical thought and getting involved in their political world - especially in regard to the Civil Rights Movement which was heavily dependent upon university students. By 1963 and 1964, Berkeley students were involved in the Civil Rights Movement - especially Freedom Summer in Mississippi as they joined students from across the nation to register blacks in Mississippi to vote.
- Students became academics who analyzed, examined, and evaluated American society, suggested solutions and alternatives for society's shortcomings, and discussed new directions for freedom, equality and peace - especially because freedom, equality, and peace were not only being challenged in the American south, but also across the nation as the president escalated U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
- Students could make their education relevant to their individual and group political, social, and economic needs - especially with an on-campus forum to share their thoughts about how to make their education relevant.
- Students should have a place on campus where free speech was honored and protected.
These diametrically opposed ideas between administrators and students clashed in 1964 as university administrators worked towards a knowledge industry at the same time that students rejected the thought of being "raw material" for the economy and instead wanted to open the university to free speech - to discussion, debate, and compromise in a way that met the constitutional needs and requirements for all Americans.
Goal #4: To analyze the goals, accomplishment, and consequences of the Free Speech Movement (FSM)
For almost 100 years, UC Berkeley administrators had taken a clear stance on free speech on its campus.
- The university charter law of 1868 and the state constitution of 1879 (Article IX, Section 9) sought to keep the state university free from "political or sectarian influence."
- The Regents interpreted that phrase as forbidding any political advocacy on any university campus.
- Despite advice of their own attorneys in 1964, the Regents chose to ignore the fact that their position violated the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Edwards v. South Carolina in 1963 that "student speakers may even advocate violations of the law provided such advocacy does not constitute a clear and present danger" and that "much of the conduct that the public finds objectionable is constitutionally protected."
The Free Speech Movement which began in Fall 1964 at UC Berkeley, evolved out of three issues:
- Student interest and involvement in the Civil Rights Movement
- Student belief that the university should be a place where they analyzed, examined and evaluated American society and made suggestions for change
- Student determination that their constitutional rights to free speech on campus were protected.
The first student protests were organized sit-ins based upon a variety of federal, state, and local political issues.
- In response, the university administration announced that a sidewalk area at the southern entrance to campus - an area believed to belong to the city of Berkeley and beyond university control - was university property and ordered all student groups to stop using the area for setting up tables, recruiting members for SDS and other political groups, and organizing for any off-campus political issues. When the administration tried to enforce the order, students organized the FSM, called a student strike, and began mass civil disobedience.
- In December 1964, the largest sit-in occurred at Sproul Hall and Governor Brown ordered state and local police to intervene. In the largest arrest in the state's history, more than 700 persons - mostly students - were dragged or carried from the building.
- In 1966 when Ronald Reagan ran for governor, one of the main issues on his platform was dealing with the UC FSM as well as the anti-war movement.
Consequences of the FSM:
- Students and faculty at UCBerkeley worked together, largely against the administration, to force the campus to accept their on-campus access to free speech.
- University campuses across the nation accepted free speech and many delegated specific areas on their campuses where the students could exercise their rights.
- The FSM brought all the civil rights issues - black, red, and brown power, womens' movement, counterculture - into the living rooms of all Americans and in so doing, encouraged some citizens to truly understand the civil rights issues of the late 20th Century.
- In the words of Jack Weinberg, FSM activist from Berkeley, " ... it was part of the struggle for civil rights, it was part of the movement in this country that broke down the Jim Crow barriers and changed, changed the caste relationships of blacks and other minorities in our society. It was part of the movement that liberalized American culture. It was part of the movement that gave way to the ideas of women's equality and women's liberation. It was part of a movement that ultimately made it impossible to carry out so blatantly the kind of imperialistic foreign policy that characterized the period after World War II."
- Student protests were not able to stop the multiversity movement.
- Ronald Reagan came to office as governor in 1967 pledging to do two things:
- Fire Clark Kerr, U.C. President
- Impose "fees" on UC students whom he called "bums."
Reagan reasoned that if students had to pay more more for their education, they would stop protesting.
- Since 1970, the cost of tuition in both the UC and CSU has dramatically risen.
Today, it is too late to totally turn our backs away from the requirements of the multiversity or the consequences of Reagan's policies. Instead, we need to learn how to pursue competing goals simultaneously and create something new in American higher education - a unique institution that has the muscle and energy and creative intelligence of Kerr’s multiversity, while retaining the spirit, the soul, and the academic rigor of the university.
Goal #5: To follow the various campus protest movements that occurred in California during the 1960s.
Students for a Democratic Society. the Weather Underground, the Anti-War Movement, the Counter Culture Movement, and the Black Panthers
1. Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was founded in 1960 with two major goals: to create a student power base that could eradicate campus injustice, and to open college and university campuses to free speech about campus issues and true political issues. Their activities and type of protest evolved over the next eight years.
- In 1960, the SDS began their protest with passive educational activities - by sponsoring
study groups and intellectual discussions, writing position papers on subjects
dealing with societal injustice and oppression, and educating college students
across the nation by distributing the papers to as many universities as
- In 1962, SDS protest moved into passive political advocacy when Tom Hayden and
45 supporters issued the Port Huron Statement calling for an alliance of
students, blacks, peace groups, and liberation organizations to bring about
a "progressive realignment" of the Democratic Party.
- In 1963-64, SDS protest moved into an active political advocacy phase when
students at UC Berkeley began the Free Speech Movement. SDS members
sponsored rallies, marches, and building takeovers in which students nonviolently
demanded that the university allow them free speech on campus.
- In 1964, SDS protest became vehemently political and openly confrontational after Johnson committed American
troops to Vietnam. At that time, SDS members began to sponsor draft
protests and peace demonstrations, attacks on military recruiters on university
campuses, raids on military property and war industries, and open confrontation
with the police.
- In 1968, when the Democratic Convention was held in Chicago in late August, 10,000 anti-war protestors - SDS members, moderate dissidents, counter culture advocates - were met by almost an equal number of police and national guardsmen who made it clear what they expected from "revolutionaries bent on the destruction of America." Hundreds were arrested and 7 were tried in the famous Trial of the Chicago 7.
- In 1969, the SDS held their convention in Chicago where a serious dispute arose between two factions - those wishing more militancy and those wishing less. The most militant split to form the Weathermen (later the Weather Underground) and the less militant members of SDS quickly faded into obscurity.
2. The Weather Underground. The Weather Underground - originally composed of 11 New York and Midwestern activists and intellectuals - believed that America could only be changed through revolution. They were the first group of student protesters who explicitly turned to violence; their membership was always small and never numbered over 100 active members.
The original 11-member core composed a programmatic thesis - "You Don't Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows" - a 16,000 word paper.
Throughout 1969, members arranged anti-war demonstrations, all designed to complement the national campaign known as "The Days of Rage."
- In March 1970, three members of the Weather Underground were killed when bomb manufacturing went awry.
- In June 1970, New York City police headquarters was bombed and the Weather Underground took credit.
- In July 1970, thirteen Weathermen were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiring to engage in acts of terrorism and the Weather Underground bombed a New York bank i in retaliation.
September: Timothy Leary issues a statement from the underground after escaping from prison with the help of the Weathermen.
- On March 1, 1971, a bomb exploded in the Capitol building in Washington D.C. Members of the Weather Underground claimed responsibility for the terrorist act. The group claimed it was in protest of the government's involvement in Laos.
- In 1977, Weather Underground members Mark Rudd and Cathy Wilkerson emerged from years of hiding and surrendered to the police, receiving two years of probation and three years in prison, respectively.
- In 1980, Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers resurfaced from the underground, pleading guilty to bail-jumping charges from a 1969 anti-war protest.
- In 1981, the unofficial end of the Weather Underground occurred when Kathy Boudin resurfaced to participate in an armed robbery in Nanuet, New York, which resulted in the shooting deaths of three men. Boudin was sentenced to 22 years in prison, and was released in 2003.
3. In February and March of 1965, the Anti-War Movement began in California when citizens marched on the Oakland Army Terminal which was the departure point for many troops bound for Southeast Asia. Throughout the year, anti-war activists promote teach-ins on California campuses which were designed to bring faculty members into the antiwar movement; symposiums to debate the moral basis of war; on-campus marches and silent vigils.
- In October 1967, Stop the Draft Week resulted in major clashes at the Oakland, California induction center, and saw more than a thousand registrants return their draft cards in events across the country.
- In January, a rally was held for the Oakland 7 - anti-war protestors from UC Berkeley who had been arrested during the Stop the Draft week. Some members from the Black Panther Party spoke at the rally, including Bobby Seale. (Scroll down to January 26 and click on "Listen to this recording.)
- In November 1969, the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam demonstrations took place in San Francisco and was organized by the Student Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (SMC).
- Between February and June, 1970, the student community of Isla Vista adjacent to U.C. Santa Barbara erupted in a series of riots during which the Bank of America was burned, a student was shot and killed, 667 people, mainly students, were arrested, and so many complaints of police brutality and wrongdoing were filed that the County had to create the Santa Barbara Citizens Commission on Civil Disorder to handle the load.
- In May 1970, in the aftermath of the American Invasion of Cambodia on April 30, 1970 and the killing of four students at Kent State University on May 4, 1970 in Ohio and two at Jackson State College in Mississippi on May 14/15, more than 450 university, college and high school campuses across the country were shut down by student strikes and both violent and non-violent protests that involved more than 4 million students. (To see a video, "My First Quarter at Berkeley, 1970" go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1Q1rR3rZBU
- In August 1970, 25,000 Mexican-Americans participated in the largest anti-war demonstration in Los Angeles. Police attacked the crowd with billyclubs and tear gas; two people were killed. Immediately after the marchers were dispersed, sheriff's deputies raided a nearby bar, where they shot and killed Ruben Salazar, KMEX news director and Los Angeles Times columnist, with a tear-gas projectile.
4. The Counter Culture movement - known variously as the Hippies and the Yippies - arose in 1965 and became quite popular in and around California universities and attracted primarily middle-class college students. Many young people simply "dropped out" and separated themselves from mainstream culture through their appearance and lifestyle. Attitudes toward sexuality appeared to loosen, and women began to openly protest the traditional roles of housewife and mother that society had assigned to them.
In January 1967, 20,000-30,000 people staged a "Human Be-In" anti-war event in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, near the Haight Ashbury neighborhood that had become the center of hippie activity.
5. The Black Panther Party (BPP) was founded in 1966 by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, along with four other young black men from Oakland, California. As shown in the photo , members are from top left to right: Elbert "Big Man" Howard; Huey P. Newton (Defense Minister), Sherman Forte, Bobby Seale (Chairman). Bottom: Reggie Forte and Little Bobby Hutton (Treasurer).
- The Panthers immediately made their primary goal public - a complete end to all forms of oppression of blacks and the beginning of armed patrols to protect black residents from the police. To make their other goals clear, they released "The Ten Point Program"
- In 1967, BPP members marched on the California State Capitol to protest a selective ban on weapons. 26 Black Panthers were arrested. In response, the California State Legislature passed an anti-gun law, prohibiting carrying of firearms in any public place or street (the Mulford Act) and which effectively outlawed Panther police patrols.
- On August 25, 1967, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover wrote an internal memorandum to all FBI offices which explained, "The purpose of this new counterintelligence [COINTELPRO] endeavor is to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit or otherwise neutralize the activities of black nationalist hate-type organizations and groupings, their leadership, spokesmen, membership, and supporters."
- In October 1967, Oakland police officer John Frey was shot to death in an altercation with Huey P. Newton during a traffic stop. Newton was critically injured and arrested and jailed (go to "Video Clip of Huey Newton Interview in the Alameda County jail". On November 13, the Alameda County grand jury returned an indictment against Newton.
- In February 1968, the Black Panther Party formed a coalition with the Peace and Freedom Party, made up mostly young white college students opposed to the Vietnam War; the phrase "Free Huey" was created out of this coalition.
- On February 17, 1968
a large Oakland "Free Huey" rally took place at the Oakland Auditorium; 5,000 people attended.
- On February 25, 1968, Bobby Seale was arrested after a raid on his apartment. Seale and his wife were charged with conspiracy to commit murder but charges were later dropped for lack of evidence.
- On March 4, 1968, the FBI issued a memo by J. Edgar Hoover mandating action against black militant groups: "Prevent the coalition of militant black nationalist groups. In unity there is strength...black nationalist groups must be the first step toward a real Mau Mau. Prevent the rise of a black Messiah who would unify and electrify the black nationalist movement."
- April 6, 1968, Bobby Hutton, BPP co-founder and its national treasurer, was killed by Oakland police following a shoot-out. Eldridge Cleaver was wounded and returned to prison for parole violation. Seven other Panthers were arrested. (For an interview with Cleaver regarding this event, see PBS/Frontline's "Two Nations of Black America" site)
- On July 15, 1968,
Newton's trial began in the Alameda County Court House; 5,000 demonstrators and 450 Black Panthers gathered to show their support.
- On September 8, 1968, the 11 white members and 1 black member of the jury deliberated and concluded, "We, the jury in the above entitled cause, find the above named defendant Huey P. Newton guilty of a felony, to wit, to voluntary manslaughter... not guilty of a felony, to wit, assault with a deadly weapon upon a police officer..."
and Newton was subsequently sentenced to 2-15 years for manslaughter to be served at the California Men's Colony, East Facility, in San Luis Obispo, California.
- In September, 1968, UC Berkeley offers a series of lectures for no credit by Eldridge Cleaver. Governor Ronald Reagan and Superintendant of Education Max Rafferty refused to pay Cleaver's salary and ordered the Board of Regents to overturn the university's decision. California Senator John Schmitz (Orange County) sponsors a bill to withhold next year's university budget if Cleaver was not fired at once. On October 23, UCB students staged a sit-in in the administration building. On October 9, Cleaver gave his first lecture at Berkeley.
- In November, 1968, the BPP adopted a "Serve the People" programmatic focus, which included a free breakfast program for schoolchildren on welfare.
- On March 22, 1969, after a speech by Kathleen Cleaver, over 100 Mills College students led by the Black Students Unionseized president Robert J. Werk's office and held him prisoner for several hours to press their demands for more involvement by minorities in college affairs.
- On June 15, 1969, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover declared, "the Black Panther Party, without question, represents the greatest threat to internal security of the country"; he pledged that 1969 would be the last year of the Party's existence.
- In July, 1969 Stokely Carmichael - who officially left the BPP in June - met with Eldridge Cleaver - who was living in Algeria - and they quarreled over the direction of the BPP. Cleaver favored selective cooperation with white radical groups and Carmichael favored building a strong black nationalist movement - including armed struggle - before working with whites. This marks the first split within the party.
- On November 12, 1969, a BPP rally was held in Oakland. Discussion was largely devoted to the relationship of the Panthers to the peace movement, and the stand of the Panthers on the war in Viet Nam.
May 29, 1970, after 21 months of appeals, the California Appellate Court overturned Newton's manslaughter conviction based on Judge Friedman's incomplete instructions given to the jury and on
August 5, after posting a $50,000 bail, Huey P. Newton was released.
- On August 18, 1970, former UCLS Professor Angela Davis was placed on FBI's list of 10 most-wanted fugitives. The next day, a rally of 1,000 persons took place in San Francisco to support Davis. The rally ended in clashes between demonstrators and police.
- In February 1971, Cleaver expelled Huey Newton and David Hilliard from the BPP, giving rise to the belief that the party may not be able to survive. Although remnants of the BPP remain, the Party is never again as vibrant as it had been for the previous 5 years.
Goal #5: To discuss some of the myths
and realities about student radicals of the 1960s
- All student activists were radical revolutionaries or hippies. Students were unkept, maladjusted radicals
who experimented with sex and drugs, were unconventional
in daily behavior, and were frustrated and unhappy.
- All student activists were dedicated to destroying American freedom and replacing it with Marxist communism. The sources of radical discontent and alienation were the loss of
traditional American virtues, the breakdown of the American family, overindulgent
parents, and an indulgent university atmosphere.
Radical protest was a revolutionary threat to American values and traditional
- The typical activist of the Sixties tended to be a better-than-average
student, a committed and dedicated intellectual, ethnically
or even religiously oriented, and a relatively well-balanced and well-liked
person, who usually came from an ordinary, middle-class background.
- The typical activist was politically moderate and began his or her involvement with the Free Speech Movement largely to defend their Constitutional rights to freedom of speech.
Student radicals had valid reasons for their discontent:
- Disallusionment with worldwide violence - especially Vietnam, consequences
of unrestrained war technology, and perceived failure of the government
to make any positive changes for America's future
- The "hypocrisy" of parents who supported racial equality, but disallowed their
children from dating a person of color; and who endorse free thinking
and independence, but deny it to their children who seek it.
Moral indignation about the inequities of and injustice within American
- Student protest never posed a real threat to society because it was never widespread; the overwhelming majority of university students in the 1960s were politically apathetic, accepting of the "establishment," and even resentful of the handful of activists who kept them from getting the education they desired.
- Unrest was present on about 5% of all American campuses. Indeed, 90% of all the turmoil on American campuses was concentrated in a few of the most prestigious universities in the nation - University of California, Yale, Michigan State, Harvard. The vast majority of the nation’s 7 million students were at most disinterested or interested onlookers.
- Until the end of the decade, the vast majority of the students who were involved in protest were committed to nonviolent protest - first to conducting ideological study groups, then writing and distributing position papers, petitioning the university and the government, protesting, and staging parades and marches.
- It was not until 1970 that a larger percentage of students began to question American society or its politicians. In 1960, a small percentage of students agreed with the statement "America is a sick society", but in 1970, a solid majority agreed and three-quarters of American college students believed that "basic changes" were necessary to improve the quality of life in American society.
- In May 1970, 1.5 million students (compared to a total 7 million nationwide) demonstrated throughout the nation in response to US involvement in Cambodia and the shootings at Kent State.
- That summer, Americans deemed "campus unrest" was the nation's number one problem.
- Why? As some students became frustrated with how the "establishment" reacted to nonviolent demands for change - harassment, repression, public lies, and vilification - a larger number of college students turned to more vehement ways in which to be heard - protest.
- The bottom line - An extremely small group of students actually turned to violence and terror as a way to get their protest messages across to the American public.
Source: Reginald Zelnik and Robert Cohen (eds), The Free Speech Movement: Reflections on Berkeley in the 1960s (2002). To hear about the FSM and the book and its authors, see Democracy Now at http://www.democracynow.org/2003/11/21/the_free_speech_movement_reflections_on
- The Free Speech Movement evolved out of three issues:
- student interest and involvement in the Civil Rights Movement;
- student belief that the university should be a place where they analyzed, examined and evaluated American society and where they made suggestions for change; and
- student determination that their constitutional rights to free speech on campus were protected.
- Unfortunately for the student advocates of free speech, the movement to open campus up to political debate coincided with the belief of some university administrators that the modern university should be a "knowledge industry" in which the university and the work world were well aligned.
- Student unrest did not arise on American college campuses until students
adopted new thoughts and attitudes about the university and their role
within it - thoughts and attitudes that the vast majority of Americans
perceived to be a rejection of American values and a threat to the well-being
of American society. In reality, however, such thoughts and attitudes
did not challenge the veracity of American values, but rather they
were illustrative of the gap between espousing such values in principal
and putting them to work in practice.
- Students in the early 1960s increasingly used civil disobedience to express their dissatisfaction. However, as the Sixties came to an end, a very small number of students who were dissatisfied with the results of the anti-war efforts and attempts to achieve more racial equality turned to violence.
- When the changes in educational goals, student roles, and measurements
of student success are examined over the years, it becomes clear that the
student protesters of the 1960s were not a bunch of radical revolutionaries,
but instead, moved America forward into an evolutionary rather than revolutionary
chapter in American history.
- The vast majority of young protesters were not young men and women
who wanted radical change in American society; rather, they sought to gain their constitutional guarantee to freedom of speech on campus and they wished to fulfill
the old promises of American society - they were all too aware of an increasing
gap between what they felt to be important, desirable, and possible and
what they knew to be reality.
- Regardless of public perceptions to the contrary, violent student
radicals in the 1960s and early 1970s were never numerically strong and
never posed any real revolutionary threat to the fabric of American life.
The perception of dangerousness was perpetrated by the media whose tendency
was to capture the most visible images of dissent, and by the FBI whose
paranoia and lack of real understanding created new "public enemies."
- By the beginning of the Seventies, most student unrest had become dormant, if not extinct.
- The Vietnam War gradually wound down and eventually came to an end.
- The election of Ronald Reagan as governor and his persistent criticism of the students as "cowardly bums" led many taxpaying voters to turn against student demonstrators and demand that the universities go back to places of learning.
- More students came to the university interested in the possibilities of "working within the system" rather than fighting the system.
- The Sixties era of student protest, left some positive and permanent after effects.
The decade pf protests:
- generated a greater awareness of the rights of racial minorities;
- encouraged liberalized public attitudes and legislative reforms about several issues that the students focused on for reform; and
- heightened American understanding of the disastrous war in Vietnam and in so doing, hastened the end of the war.