Cover image for At Berkeley in the sixties : the education of an activist, 1961-1965
At Berkeley in the sixties : the education of an activist, 1961-1965
Freeman, Jo.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Bloomington : Indiana University Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xxiii, 358 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
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Format :


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LD760 .F73 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This book is a memoir and a history of Berkeley in the early Sixties. As a young undergraduate, Jo Freeman was a key participant in the growth of social activism at the University of California, Berkeley. The story is told with the ""you are there"" immediacy of Freeman the undergraduate but is put into historical and political context by Freeman the scholar, 35 years later. It draws heavily on documents created at the time--letters, reports, interviews, memos, newspaper stories, FBI files--but is fleshed out with retrospective analysis. As events unfold, the campus conflicts of the Sixties take on a completely different cast, one that may surprise many readers.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Only 16 at the time, Freeman entered Berkeley in 1961, when the nascent social and political activism of the '60s was percolating. In prose that is by turns pedantic and moving, Freeman revisits her journey through those swirling, exciting and disillusioning times. Using her own diaries and letters as well as FBI files and other documentary sources, Freeman switches back and forth between her recollections and her more measured observations as a scholar reflecting on these times. Wide-eyed at 16, Freeman read all she could find on the various movements on campus and plunged into her studies to gain a broader understanding of the world around her. Witnessing segregation in the South while active in the Civil Rights movement, she became disillusioned with Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy for claiming that he had desegregated all Southern bus stations. Freeman moved on to a leadership role in the free speech movement, which sponsored Malcolm X as well as Ralph Forbes, a leader of the American Nazi Party, to speak on campus. Committed as she was to her causes, Freeman reveals her very real fear of being arrested for the first time. She honestly admits that the free speech movement, like many other '60s movements, was run mostly by men, and that the emerging women's liberation movement had little effect on gender equality. Breezy and anecdotal, on one hand, and scholarly and dry, on the other, Freeman's account provides yet another glimpse of one ordinary person's experience in the extraordinary '60s working to make a better world. 12 b&w photos. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

"This book," says political activist and writer and New York City attorney Freeman, "began as a memoir and evolved into a history." The memoir is of her college years. The history is of the place and time where she spent them: Berkeley, 1961-65. Freeman has mastered the enormous literature on the subject, including such studies as C. Michael Otten's University Authority and the Student: The Berkeley Experience (CH, May'71), Max Heirich's The Spiral of Conflict: Berkeley, 1964 (CH, Jun'71), William J. Rorabaugh's Berkeley at War: The 1960s (CH, Nov'89), and Mark Kitchell's documentary video Berkeley in the Sixties (CH, Jan'91). Although Freeman adds no big new interpretations to the scholarship, her lucid summary of it should be useful to undergraduates and the general public. Of more interest to researchers, perhaps, are her personal recollections, particularly those regarding women. Whether discussing hair or hitchhiking, Freeman has important things to say. This reviewer wishes she had tossed aside her scholarly objectivity, let her long, straight hair down, and examined her own life more deeply. For instance, she dedicates the book to her mother but never mentions her father. One wonders why. ^BSumming Up:: Highly recommended. All public and academic levels and libraries. J. A. Hijiya emeritus, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Table of Contents

1 The Train to Berkeley
2 Ca
3 Politics and the University
5 Exploring the Political Bazaar
6 The Young Democrats
7 Student
8 Protest
9 Summer vacation in Washington D.C.
10 Crossing the Line
11 The Speaker Ban
12 The SLATE Supplement
13 Fair Housing
14 Mexico and Central America
15 The House on Parker St.
16 The Assassination of JFK
17 The Bay Area Civil Rights Movement
18 On Civil Disobedience
19 The Sheraton Palace
20 Auto Row
21 Clogging the Courts
22 On Trial
23 Freedom Summer
24 Summer Session
25 Hitchhiking
26 The Democratic Convention
27 New York City
28 First Week of the Fall Semester
29 Eviction!
30 Who Done It?
31 Capturing the Car
32 Strongwalled
33 The October 2 Pact
34 The FSM is Born
35 Sparing
36 Energy
37 Escalation
38 The "Right Wing" Revolt
39 Secret Negotiations
40 Changes
41 Mutual Misconceptions
42 The Heyman Committee Report
43 The Regents Meet
44 The Abortive Sit-In
45 Resurrection
46 The Real Sit-In
47 Strike!
48 Victory
49 Intermission
51 On Regents and Rules
53 The State Legislature
54 Graduation
55 The FBI Files
56 Aftermath, Afterword, and Afterthoughts