Berkeley's free speech movement at 50

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Berkeley Free Speech Movement at 50
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Berkeley's free speech movement at 50
FILE - Jack Weinberg, seated, left window, a long-time leader of demonstrations on the Berkeley campus and spokesmen for the Vietnam protest marchers, confers in police van with officers in charge of the Oakland police detail assigned to stop the marchers which did not have an Oakland marching permit in Berkeley, Calif., on Oct. 16, 1965. The police were successful in preventing an actual confrontation. The fall of 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, a protest that only lasted for three months but set the stage for the turbulent 1960s. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 7, 1964 file photo, Mario Savio, leader of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, is restrained by police as he walks on to the platform at the University of California's Greek Theater in Berkeley, Calif. Savio attempted to speak directly following the appearance of University President Clark Kerr. He was later permitted to make two announcements to the assembled students. The fall of 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, a protest that only lasted for three months but set the stage for the turbulent 1960s. (AP Photo/Robert W. Klein, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 7, 1964 file photo, Mario Savio, leader of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, speaks to assembled students on the campus at the University of California in Berkeley, Calif. The fall of 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, a protest that only lasted for three months but set the stage for the turbulent 1960s. (AP Photo/Robert W. Klein, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 18, 1964 file photo, student demonstrators supporting the Free Speech Movement, some huddling under umbrellas during a drizzle, gave a victory sign on as University of California regents meet at the UCLA, to decide what to do about political speech and action which have kept the Berkeley campus in a turmoil for three months. The girl with a guitar is Katherine Sakkaroff, 17. The fall of 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, a protest that only lasted for three months but set the stage for the turbulent 1960s. (AP Photo/Harold Filan, File)
File - (AP) In the Beginning. In 1964, the freshman class to the University of California, Berkeley, found themselves involved with the Free Speech Movement, a protest against the campus administration and policies. Led by Mario Savio, with bullhorn, some 700 demonstrators held a sit-in at Sproul Hall in open defiance of adminisration ordres. (AP-Photo) 24.5.1968
Political activist Mario Savio, holding his son is interviewed in June 1967. (AP Photo)
Mario Savio, right, who led the Freedom of Speech movement at the University of California, speaks at a "Peoples Park" rally on the university campus in Berkeley, Calif., June 26, 1969. Savio spoke of freedom of speech, and then told the estimated 2,500 people attending the rally he was now a family man and had to go home. Later there was a march to an old war housing area in Berkeley which has been turned over to the "Park" people for a few months. (AP Photo/Sal Veder)
Mario Savio, right, who led the Freedom of Speech movement at the University of California, speaks at a "Peoples Park" rally on the university campus in Berkeley, Calif., June 26, 1969. Savio spoke of freedom of speech, and then told the estimated 2,500 people attending the rally he was now a family man and had to go home. Later there was a march to an old war housing area in Berkeley which has been turned over to the "Park" people for a few months. (AP Photo/Sal Veder)
Political activist Mario Savio is seen speaking into a microphone on December 2, 1966. (AP Photo)
Mario Savio walks away from a police car outside the gate of Alameda County Rehabilitation Center near Pleasanton in Santa Rita, Calif., March 5, 1965. Savio had just completed serving a 28-hour sentence for contempt of court at an appearance stemming from a campus sit-in last December at the University of California. (AP Photo/Robert W. Klein)
Mario Savio, Free Speech Movement leader at the University of California, Berkeley, is photographed with his wife on July 1965. (AP Photo)
Student demonstrators supporting the Free Speech Movement, some huddling under umbrellas during a drizzle, gave a victory sign on Dec. 18, 1964, as University of California regents meet at UCLA, Los Angeles, to decide what to do about political speech and action which have kept the Berkeley campus in a turmoil for three months. The girl with a guitar is Katherine Sakkaroff, 17. (AP Photo/Harold Filan)
Members of an undergraduate group at UCLA, calling themselves the Responsible Free Speech Movement, demonstrate on Dec. 18, 1964, as University of California regents meet to decide on the free speech issue that has wracked the Berkeley, Calif., campus for three months. These students, who oppose the so-called Free Speech Movement, support the University administration's present program governing political activity on the campus. (AP Photo/Harold Filan)
Twenty-two-year-old Mario Savio, student leader of the recent protest at the University of California campus at Berkeley, attends a student rally at Columbia University in New York on Dec. 11, 1964. Savio denied that foreign money was behind his "Free Speech Movement" or that he was setting out on a tour of Eastern campuses to "Forment More Demonstrations. " (AP Photo/Anthony Camerano)
Mario Savio, 22, leader of he University of California students' Free Speech Movement, smiles during a rally on campus celebrating victory for political freedom in Berkeley, Calif. on Dec. 10, 1964. Savio, a philosophy junior from N.Y., was to be in New York for television and college speaking engagements. He announced that he is dropping out of Cal because demands of the FSM campaign on his time put him behind in his classwork. Savio said he plans to reenter the University next semester. (AP Photo)
Mario Savio, leader of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, speaks to assembled students on the campus at the University of California in Berkeley, Dec. 7, 1964. Earlier, Savio attempted to speak directly following the appearance of University President Clark Kerr, but was restrained by police. He was later permitted to make two announcements to the students. (AP Photo/Robert W. Klein)
Mario Savio, 21, leader of the University of California demonstration protesting the university's disciplinary action against four self-styled free speech leaders, stands among demonstrators in Sproul Hall to give instruction on passive resistance as the building was locked up for the night, Dec. 3, 1964, in Berkeley. (AP Photo/Robert Houston)
University of California students and sympathizers of free speech movement are sealed off behind police line in front of Sproul Hall in Berkeley, Calif., Dec. 3, 1964. More than 200 officers were removing 500 limp demonstrators from the hall where they had been locked up for the night. (AP Photo)
FILE - In this Dec. 2, 1964 file photo, folk singer Joan Baez clowns as she sits with student demonstrators in Sproul Hall on the University of California campus in Berkeley, Calif. The students, participating in a Free Speech Movement, will remain until disciplinary action is dropped against four self-styled free speech leaders. This fall marks the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, a protest that only lasted for three months but set the stage for the turbulent 1960s. (AP Photo, File)
Mario Savio, facing camera foreground, leader of the so-called Free Speech Movement at the University of California, gathered a crowd of some 3,000 students in front of Sproul Hall on the Berkeley campus on Dec. 2, 1964. Savio, 21, told the crowd that sit-in demonstrators planned to occupy the second floor of Sproul Hall until the administration dropped disciplinary action against four free speech leaders. (AP Photo)
FILE - In this Oct. 2, 1964 file photo, standing atop the crushed roof of a campus police car, a University of California student asks Cal students to identify themselves during third day of Free Speech Movement demonstrations in Berkeley, Calif. One student has been arrested and confined in the police car which is surrounded by the demonstrators. The fall of 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, a protest that only lasted for three months but set the stage for the turbulent 1960s. (AP Photo, File)
Standing atop the crushed roof of a campus police car, a University of California student asks Cal students to identify themselves during third day of Free Speech Movement demonstrations at Berkeley, Ca., Oct. 2, 1964. One student has been arrested and confined in the police car which is surrounded by the demonstrators. (AP Photo)
** FILE ** Standing atop the crushed roof of a campus police car, a University of California student asks Cal students to identify themselves during the third day of Free Speech Movement demonstrations at Berkeley, Calif., Oct. 2, 1964. Forty years ago, Free Speech Movement protesters at the University of California Berkeley, were hauled off in handcuffs. Friday, Oct. 8, 2004, they were welcomed back with open arms. A noon rally featuring former presidential hopeful Howard Dean was the highlight of a week of events that included lectures and teach-ins commemorating the long-ago protest against a ban on political activities on campus. (AP Photo/File)
APR 21 1968, APR 22 1969; Speakers Huddle at opening Session Monday of University of Denver's Awareness Week; From left are Phillip Crane, member of the national advisory board of the young Americans for Freedom; Les Crane, television moderator; David Summer, a DU professor; Ken Woodward, Newsweek magazine religion editor, and Betina Aptheker, leader of the Free Speech Movement from the University of California campus at Berkeley.; (Photo By Ira Gay Sealy/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Student protestor Mario Savio (C) being roughed up by two Berkeley cops as they arrest him during student riot at Free Speech Movement demonstration on campus at Univ. of CA. (Photo by Nat Farbman/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Mario Savio, leader of the Students' Free Speech Movement of U.C.Berkeley, leads several thousand students in an invasion of Sproul Hall administrative building, Berkeley, California, December 2, 1964. (Photo by Peter Whitney/Getty Images)
Mario Savio, leader of the Students' Free Speech Movement of U.C.Berkeley, leads several thousand students in an invasion of Sproul Hall administrative building, Berkeley, California, December 2, 1964. (Photo by Peter Whitney/Getty Images)
Student leader Mario Savio (fore, R) being hauled away by campus police during demonstration favoring free speech. (Photo by Nat Farbman/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Mario Savio (fore, 3L) and Jack Weinberg (fore, C), leaders of the student free speech movement, attending a meeting. (Photo by Nat Farbman/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Police talking to students who are staging a sit-in in support of free speech movement. (Photo by Nat Farbman/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
A free speech demonstration at the University of California. (Photo by Bill Ray/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Governor af California Edmund G. Brown (2L) during the Free Speech riots at Berkeley. (Photo by Bill Ray/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
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BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- In the waning days of 1964, University of California, Berkeley, students inspired by the fight for racial equality found their collective voice in challenging a campus ban on political advocacy.

On Dec. 2, following weeks of demonstrations and failed negotiations, more than 1,000 students took over the administration building in what would be the apex of the Free Speech Movement.

The sit-in ended the next day with 814 people arrested, the largest mass arrests in California history. Support from sympathetic faculty and others eventually opened the university to student activism in early 1965.

College campuses across the country would never be the same.

WHAT SPARKED THE FREE SPEECH MOVEMENT?

Political activities involving off-campus causes were prohibited at University of California campuses in 1964. At Berkeley, students and outside activists instead set up tables, handed out leaflets and did fundraising on a 26-foot-wide brick walkway at the campus' Telegraph Avenue entrance.

That September, after Berkeley students took part in civil rights protests against Bay Area businesses and at the Republican National Convention in San Francisco, the dean of students notified student organizations that the walkway was university property and could not be used "to support or advocate off-campus political or social action."

Students defiantly set up tables on the walkway and within the campus. The civil disobedience came to a head on Oct. 1, when police tried to arrest a former student staffing a table for the Congress on Racial Equality. Hundreds of students surrounded the police car to keep it from carrying him away.

The standoff ended after 32 hours when UC President Clark Kerr agreed not to press charges and to appoint a committee of students, faculty and administrators to craft recommendations on student speech issues. But the two sides were unable to reach an agreement, setting the stage for further protests and ultimately the show-down in December.

WHO WERE THE MAIN PLAYERS?

No individual is more closely identified with the FSM than Mario Savio. The 21-year-old philosophy major, who just returned from registering black voters in Mississippi, rallied fellow students with soaring rhetoric that captured the moment and foreshadowed the youth-led uprisings of the later-1960s and early-1970s.

"There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can't take part!" Savio said in a memorable speech delivered just before the Dec. 2 sit-in. "And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop!"

Folk singer Joan Baez, then 23, led the crowd that marched into the administration building in singing "We Shall Overcome." Some leaders went on to notable careers, including artist David Lance Goines and Jackie Goldberg, one of the first lesbians to serve in the California Legislature. Savio suffered a fatal heart attack while teaching at Sonoma State University in 1996.

Backlash affected the fortunes of officials who tried in vain to quell the student unrest. In 1966, Ronald Reagan, who had campaigned in part on a promise to "clean up the mess at Berkeley," unseated two-term California Gov. Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, who ordered the Dec. 3 arrests. Three weeks after Reagan became governor, Kerr, the UC president, was fired.

DID THE FSM HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH VIETNAM?

Indirectly. Large student protests against the Vietnam War were held in San Francisco, New York and other cities in spring 1964, but it was not until President Lyndon Johnson expanded the war in the months after the FSM that the conflict became a focus of campus political activity.

Students held anti-war teach-ins at Berkeley, burned draft cards at the local draft board and marched to the Army Induction Center in Oakland.

By 1968, with the war and the counter-culture well-established, students with demands for social change were clashing with police and universities worldwide.

"I think about the Free Speech Movement as helping to end the McCarthy era and paving the way for the anti-war protests that came later," said New York University historian Robert Cohen, the author of several books about Savio and a visiting professor at Berkeley this term.

ARE BERKELEY STUDENTS POLITICALLY ACTIVE TODAY?

Attending a school with a Free Speech Movement Cafe and an annual Mario Savio Memorial Lecture, Cal students are well-aware of their legacy. The plaza where the police car was surrounded has seen many protests, from sleep-ins aimed at persuading the university to divest its money from South Africa in 1985 to an Occupy Wall Street-style encampment in 2011 that campus police broke up with batons.

In a cause that hits closer to home, hundreds of students occupied a campus classroom building for a week this month to protest a series of tuition hikes.

HOW IS BERKELEY COMMEMORATING THE 50th ANNIVERSARY?

Reverently, yet orderly. Students are planning to gather at Sproul Hall on Tuesday to read from letters students who were arrested 50 years ago wrote to the judge explaining why they took part in the protest.

FSM veterans returned to campus this fall for a reunion with panel discussions, a musical about the 1964 protests co-written by one of Savio's sons and an anniversary rally.

Looking over a sea of gray heads, Goldberg mused about how quickly the decades had passed. But to her fellow children of The Sixties, her message was timeless.

"Every morning, get up and look in the mirror as you are brushing those dentures and say to yourself, `I will not be cynical today. I will not believe the crap that everyone is in it for themselves. I will not believe that everyone is corrupt. I will not believe the propaganda that tells me it is all hopeless," she said. "It is never hopeless.'"

RELATED: Protests against the Vietnam War

44 PHOTOS
Vietnam protest 11/15/69
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Berkeley's free speech movement at 50
Demonstrators march along Pennsylvania Avenue in an anti-Vietnam War protest in Washington, November 15, 1969. (AP Photo)
Anti-war active-duty GI's, forbidden to demonstrate in uniform, marching up Pennsylvania Ave, in support of the moratorium. (Photo by John Olson/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
With the U.S. Capitol in the background, demonstrators march along Pennsylvania Avenue in an anti-Vietnam War protest in Washington, on Moratorium Day, November 15, 1969. (AP Photo)
Draft resisters march at a demonstration organized by the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, Washington DC, November 15, 1969. (Photo by David Fenton/Getty Images)
Opponents of an anti-Vietnam War demonstration set fire to a Viet Cong flag, prior to the start of the march, on November 15, 1969, in Washington. (AP Photo)
A demonstrator waves a Viet Cong flag as he watches a police motor bike burn during a confrontation between antiwar demonstrators and police in Washington, Nov. 14, 1969. (AP Photo)
A crowd of demonstrators gather at the Washington Monument for the Moratorium Day peace rally to protest the Vietnam War on Nov. 15, 1969. The attendance is estimated at 200,000 people. (AP Photo)
Kenneth Williams, 21, of Morristown, Pa., rests in the Students Mobilization Committee to end the War in Vietnam office in Washington Nov. 13, 1969. The cartons behind Williams contain pesters which will be sold during the Vietnam Moratorium activities which begin on November 13 in the nation’s capital. (AP Photo/Bob Daugherty)
WASHINGTON, DC. - NOVEMBER 15: Demonstration Anti-Vietnam on November 15, 1969 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Santi Visalli/Getty Images)
American folk singer and musician Arlo Guthrie, dressed in a fleece-trimmed Afghan coat and cowboy hat, performs at the National Mobilization to End the War, Washington, D.C., November 15, 1969. At the event, hundreds of thousands of peace supporters demonstrated against the war in Vietnam. (Photo by David Fenton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC. - NOVEMBER 15: Demonstration Anti-Vietnam with Dr. Benjamin Spock on November 15, 1969 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Santi Visalli/Getty Images)
The Moratorium Day peace parade passes along Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol building on Nov. 15, 1969. The peace rally gathered at the Washington Monument to protest the Vietnam War. (AP Photo)
Wearing the name of a serviceman who died in Vietnam, this marcher pauses in front of the White House to shout the name toward the Executive Mansion in Washington Nov. 14, 1969. The “march against Death” began late Thursday from Arlington National cemetery to the Capitol and will continue until Saturday morning when a mass march from the Capitol to the Washington Monument will climax three days of the second moratorium of the pace movement. (AP Photo)
A woman tosses a brick out the broken window of a dress shop in Washington, Nov. 15, 1969 after the outbreak of violence. Police stopped a march of peace protesters from nearing the South Vietnam embassy. (AP Photo)
The West’s march of protest against the Vietnam War moves out from the San Francisco waterfront, Nov. 15, 1969, heading for a rally in Golden Gate Park some seven miles away. The marchers were quiet and somber as they started their long walk to protest the fighting in Vietnam. (AP Photo)
A demonstrator during a confrontation between antiwar demonstrators and police in Washington, Nov. 14, 1969. (AP Photo)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate student Stephen Pace of Salt Lake City, carries a lantern and signs in his knapsack as he prepared to board bus for Washington in Cambridge Thursday, Nov. 13, 1969. Pace was among hundreds of protestors who boarded buses enroute Washington moratorium to protest American involvement in Vietnam. (AP Photo)
J. Paul Getty Jr.'s wife Talitha stands with American author Gore Vidal, wearing dark glasses, in Piazza Navona, in Rome, Nov. 15, 1969, during a rally staged to show support for Moratorium Day and gather petitions demanding an end to the war in Vietnam. (AP Photo)
Supporters of the Vietnam moratorium lie in the Sheep Meadow of New York's Central Park Nov. 14, 1969 as hundreds of black and white balloons float skyward. A spokesman for the moratorium committee said the black balloons represented Americans who died in Vietnam under the Nixon administration, and the white balloons symbolized the number of Americans who would die if the war continued. (AP Photo/J. Spencer Jones)
President Nixon works in the Oval Office in the White House, Nov. 15, 1969, as a Vietnam Day protest parade passes within a block of the Executive Mansion. Nixon maintained his work schedule. (AP Photo)
Police release tear gas in retaliation to a barrage of rocks from a segment of the Vietnam moratorium peace demonstration in Washington, D.C., Nov. 15, 1969. (AP Photo)
A trio of youths sits on a statue near the Capitol in Washington, Nov. 14, 1969 as the “March Against Death” from Arlington Cemetery passed by. The 40-hour-long demonstration is a part of the Vietnam Moratorium in Washington. (AP Photo)
A crowd estimated at over 10,000 wave flags and hold signs during “Freedom Rally” in Washington to support President Nixon’s Vietnam policy in Washington Nov. 12, 1969. The Veterans Day demonstration was held on the grounds of the Washington Monument. (AP Photo)
WASHINGTON, DC. - NOVEMBER 15: Demonstration Pro-Vietnam on November 15, 1969 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Santi Visalli/Getty Images)
Anti-war demonstrators, wearing black armbands, fill the steps of the United States Capitol Building and hold hands on the day of the National Moratorium, on October 15, 1969 in Washington DC, to protest against the continuing war in Vietnam. Millions of Americans took part in peace initiatives across the United States during the Moratorium Day, which is believed to have been the largest demonstration in US history with an estimated two million people involved. (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
Young Americans gesture and shout as they protest the war in Vietnam on the steps of the Department of Justice building during the National Mobilization to End the War, Washington, DC, November 15, 1969. (Photo by David Fenton/Getty Images)
A memorial service for the Louisiana war dead is conducted at Loyola University in New Orleans, Oct. 15, 1969. Moratorium Day demonstrations at a number of New Orleans colleges will be climaxed with a march on the Federal Building. (AP Photo)
Anti-war demonstrators march outside the White House, on November 15, 1969 in Washington DC, for the second Moratorium Day, to protest against the continuing war in Vietnam. Millions of Americans took part in peace initiatives across the United States during the Moratorium Day, which is believed to have been the largest demonstration in US history with an estimated two million people involved. (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
American antiwar political activist Jerry Rubin (1938 - 1994), with David Dellinger (1915 - 2004) visible on the right, waves to the crowd at the National Mobilization to End the War rally against the Vietnam War, Washington, DC, November 15, 1969. Rubin holds a banner which reads 'Yippie!' and refers to his mock political party the Youth International Party. (Photo by David Fenton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON DC - NOVEMBER 15: Students protest the Vietnam war and the trial of the Chicago 7 on November 15 1969 in Washington DC. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON DC - NOVEMBER 15: National Guard troops and police surround an overturned car during anti-Vietnam protests on November 15 1969 in Washington DC. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Young Americans gesture and shout as they protest the war in Vietnam on the steps of the Department of Justice building during the National Mobilization to End the War, Washington, DC, November 15, 1969. (Photo by David Fenton/Getty Images)
Members of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War raise clenched fists after ending their 40-hour occupation of State of Liberty, which can be seen behind them, Dec. 28, 1971. The veterans are protesting the continuation of the Vietnam war and the intensification of United States bombing. (AP Photo/Anthony Camerano)
WASHINGTON, DC. - NOVEMBER 15: Demonstration Anti-Vietnam on November 15, 1969 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Santi Visalli/Getty Images)
Demonstrators lie in the roadway outside the U.S. Embassy in London’s Grosvenor Square, United Kingdom on Nov. 15, 1969 during a show of support for anti-Vietnam War demonstrations taking place simultaneously in Washington. Beside pavement is a mock coffin into which protesters dropped names of U.S. soldiers killed in Vietnam. (AP Photo/Peter Kemp)
WASHINGTON, DC. - NOVEMBER 15: Demonstration Anti-Vietnam on November 15, 1969 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Santi Visalli/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC. - NOVEMBER 15: Demonstration Anti-Vietnam on November 15, 1969 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Santi Visalli/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC. - NOVEMBER 15: Demonstration Anti-Vietnam on November 15, 1969 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Santi Visalli/Getty Images)
College students in New Orleans march to the Federal Building on Moratorium Day, Oct. 15, 1969. (AP Photo)
WASHINGTON, DC. - NOVEMBER 15: Demonstration Anti-Vietnam on November 15, 1969 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Santi Visalli/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC. - NOVEMBER 15: Demonstration Anti-Vietnam on November 15, 1969 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Santi Visalli/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC. - NOVEMBER 15: Demonstration Anti-Vietnam with peace buttons on November 15, 1969 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Santi Visalli/Getty Images)
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