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Free Speech Movement Archives

The Corporation: How It Came to Be, and Its Plans

     When we organized the 1994 FSM reunion, Lee Felsenstein took on the task of producing its video documentation; and circulated a modest manifesto concerning our status as elders and our responsibility to pass on information and culture to younger generations, in forms that would resonate with their experiences. He proposed the formation of an organization to secure the intellectual property represented by the reunion videos and other FSM materials, and to facilitate its use by documentarists speaking to youth. An ad-hoc committee convened at the reunion to consider the complications of this proposal and met several times in 1995. Its most substantive outcome was to leave Peter Franck convinced that the move was appropriate and necessary.

     Lee began again to polemicize for this in 1996, and recruited Peter, Michael Rossman, and others who had been active in the previous reunions and in tending the FSM's heritage, to undertake the organization of the Free Speech Movement Archives (FSM-A) as a not-for-profit corporation. After Mario's death in November, Marilyn Noble gave the project crucial focus and impetus by scheduling our meetings at her Oakland home and providing for them lavishly. An appropriate Board of Directors was invited, and most gathered at our first formal meeting on January 25, 1997. Lee recruited Kathleen Piper to shepherd us through the mechanics of incorporation, and we set to work seriously. It took longer than we expected, but we have brought the organization to legal birth -- and in the process have engaged the first projects of FSM-A, and begun to gather people with the skills to carry them through. The incorporation papers were filed in March 1998. The documents qualifying FSM-A for tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status will be filed later this year. We expect their approval, for our motives are as holy as cherry pie -- to testify for free speech by passing our history on to our children and beyond, along with the live charge and complexity of understanding it, as best we can.

     Separately, you will find FSM-A's formal statement of purposes, and a roster of its board of directors and officers. As all were deeply involved with the FSM, we trust that you know enough about enough of them to be assured that this effort is carried on by responsible hands and in a continuity of spirit. Although it was unfeasible to constitute FSM-A as a formal membership organization, we are well aware that we have a core constituency, and we hope to represent you well. (Indeed, we mean to help you represent yourselves, in filling out our history and connecting it to life.) As the tasks of bringing this formal vehicle to life are done, we hope to involve more of you in exploring what can be furthered through it as the FSM-A Web. We invite you to begin this exploration immediately, as the FSM-A Web site develops.

     You will notice that although FSM-A's purposes focus on the original document of the FSM, they are drawn broadly, to legitimate its relation to a broad range of movements and developments, extending from before 1964 to the present. They are drawn broadly in another sense as well. While organizing FSM-A, we came to see that it was natural to integrate the other long-term activities of the diffuse association of FSM veterans into its operation. One might take this simply to mean that the maintenance of our mailing-list, the long-promised newsletter, and the organizing of future reunions will proceed henceforth under our own non-profit umbrella. But we see the relation as more organic. Much of the FSM's history and interpretation has been recorded, in a complex welter of documents -- but even more has not, and remains live in the memories and present lives of those who made this movement and moved on. As much as paper or more, you are the document of the FSM. We are the document together still, together with the echoes in Tianamen Square, and the signal victory that FSM-A's legal director Peter Franck won in court in defense of the First Amendment freedom of micro-radio broadcasting, before SWAT teams kicked down the doors of three microstations in Florida to send a counter-signal. In this circumstance, our mailing-list is an essential index to a vital, collective document still developing, which our mailings and reunions, our symposia and memorials extend. We intend FSM-A to gather and tend this larger document as an organic extension of the document of 1964; and expect that it will prove a vehicle to elicit histories from many whose views and stories have never been recorded. The Web site may facilitiate this; we invite you to help us explore.

     FSM-A is undertaking several projects beyond its own organization. One is to gather as much material pertaining to the FSM as possible, from the documents of 1964 (and earlier) onward and through personal writings and oral histories; and to arrange for its cataloging and adequate storage and preservation. We invite you to contribute whatever you can. [See Bettina Aptheker's sidebar, and the report on developments with the Bancroft Library.] A related project is to develop the FSM-A Web site as a means to make the FSM's history accessible and useful, in and beyond educational institutions. We expect that the site will become our main interface with the public. Along with e-mail, it will also provide our most direct (and in time our main) means of relation with our core constituency, the veterans and associates of the FSM. We hope to take advantage of this without compromising communication with those among us -- still the great majority -- who don't use on-line services. [See the section on the FSM-A Web site. Susan Druding is directing its construction, and Michael Rossman will coordinate its editorial direction.]

     After helping organize a symposium on Mario at the Organization of American Historians conference in spring 1997, Robby Cohen has taken on direction of FSM-A's academic affairs, concerned with focussing critical attention on the FSM as history. Teachers and scholars concerned with this should contact him; we hope you'll spread this invitation. [See Robby's sidebar.] Another long-term project involves the maintenance of our crucial mailing-lists, under the stewardship of Barbara Stack. Please help her to keep them current, and growing. No planning has yet begun for the next FSM reunion.   We invite you to consider other projects that FSM-A might properly shelter and assist.

     We hope that the news of what we've done so far will gladden you, and that you will find ways to help us carry on the work of FSM-A and make it useful in the world.

          Michael Rossman, FSM-A Newsletter Editor
 


1997 circa: Michael Rossman on the origins and elements of the collection

Dear Friends,
Please forgive me for beginning the new year with such thick text; for the content is important for some of you to deal with -- particularly Lee, Reggie, Peter, and Tom S. –though Susan, Kathleen, Lynne, and Robby at least, among others, may find particular concerns worth responding to.

(1) Our second meeting with the Bancroft ended in a friendly procedural impasse, with both sides agreeing that neither understood the appropriate agenda for a next meeting well enough to propose its date and focus. We were left also in complete uncertainty about how FSM-A can have influence in their project, and how to draw any financial support from Steve's largesse to the Bancroft.

As one way of moving forward from this limbo, I have drafted a concrete proposal about specific tasks that FSM-A can undertake, which otherwise the Bancroft would have to carry through. My intents in this are to carve out certain areas of editorial responsibility, and if possible to get the Bancroft to pay us for undertaking them.

I am sending the draft letter separately, due to its length. Please read it with these goals in mind, thinking about their shapes and how to strategize their achievement. I'd appreciate your re-thinking them, at any level. (E.g., if we're proposing to contract work, should the bids at this stage propose specific fees?) If my draft here seems reasonable, please think about other areas of work that we might carve out from the whole, to add to those I've listed. Your perspectives may be quite different from mine. If we want pieces of the Bancroft action, I think we need to be bidding for them from the start.

It would doubtless be good to discuss all this at a Board meeting. But we are obliged to make a next move with the Bancroft, and I think we should do it soon. Your thoughts on what this move might comprise, beyond the proposals of this letter, will be welcomed by all. (One item is to re-structure the terms we proposed, of sharing all data-files. My letter addresses the issues of the priority of text digitization, and of paying FSM-A for doing it, but we may want to go further in developing concrete proposals on these.) If anyone thinks that my letter is so long that it needs a brief introductory letter, I would not be offended if s/he cares to write one.

(2) How I spent my vacation: Marston delivered the 17 boxes of FSM material he's been storing for thirty years, to add to the box Barry Silverman donated. I have gone through all the material, organizing it further and separating the bulk, which Susan will store, from the fraction that will be most relevant to the Web-site. I have gone further, through these boxes, all the FSM materials I myself have accumulated, and Laura X's collection, to compile a master index of all the printed material produced by the FSM itself, and a master file of the best copies available for reproduction and text-digitization. The index currently lists 251 documents, including variant printings and press releases -- it's a remarkable list, amounting to about 400 pages in the master file. (It doesn't begin to cover the defendants' emphemera, nor the GCC, etc.) Marston's boxes included about 220 of the original mimeograph stencils, and 35 of the documents are known to me only by these stencils so far.

(3) In this labour I have been moved by primal urges, of course, but also by strategic considerations. I am now prepared to explore and evaluate the Bancroft's present FSM holdings with a critical eye, particularly with regard to the central FSM documents, and to better judge the relative value of FSM-A's present holdings and future acquisitions. I have also qualified myself as a relative authority on the content and archival state of the core FSM sphemera, which I hope will be strategically useful. The compilation of this index and master-file is a substantial chunk of the core archival work of this project -- i.e., a central


From David Goines, The Free Speech Movement, 1993
 
Bibliography & Sources
 
As self-appointed FSM historian, throughout 1965 and into 1966 Marston Schultz taped interviews with people who had been active in the Free Speech Movement. He'd originally intended to "write the definitive book on the FSM, and make a film," but what with one thing and another, he never got around to it. So, he salted the recordings and photographs away under his bed, and the temperate climate of San Francisco preserved them against the possibility that they might someday be of interest. Learning that I was working on a history of the FSM, in 1991 he made them available to me. I have transcribed and edited those that I found useful, and added the material to this history of the FSM and subsequent events.
 
The interviews were made at 1-7/8" per second on quarter-inch reel-to-reel tape. The interviews are with: Dunbar Aitkins, Ron Anastasi, Bettina Aptheker, Gene Bardack, Brad Cleaveland, Joel Geier, David Goines, Jackie Goldberg, Suzanne Goldberg, (Steve?) Heist, Walt Herbert, Mona Hutchin, Patti Iiyama, Bob Kauffman, David Kolodny, Eric Lavine, Brian Mulloney, Larry Marks, University Dean McConnell, Dusty Miller, Tom Miller, Marilyn Noble, Sherwood Parker, Bill Porter, Paul Potter, Arthur Ross, Michael Rossman, Mario Savio, Alan Searcy, Brian Shannon, Joni Slatkin, Mike Smith, Hershel Snodgrass, Bob Starobin, Sue Stein, Jack Weinberg, Steve Weissman, Arleigh Williams and University Dean Williamson. Although I have listened to the recordings, I have not directly quoted all the people he interviewed. Marston often carefully noted the day and time, but sometimes forgot to mention the month and year. Sometimes no date was mentioned. Therefore, some interview dates are approximate.
Ron Anastasi: 1965
David Goines: July 19, 20 & 23, 1965
Jackie Goldberg: July 27, 1965
Mona Hutchin: October 19, 1965
Patti Iiyama: July 19, 20 & 23, 1965
Brian Mulloney: January 20, 1966
Larry Marks: July 23, 1965
Dusty Miller: July 31, 1965
Tom Miller and Gretchen Kittredge: July 31, 1965
Marilyn Noble: September 20, 1965
Sherwood Parker: 1965
Mario Savio and Suzanne Goldberg: Shortly after Mario and Suzanne were married in 1965. The interview was conducted with the assistance of Burton White of KPFA.
Brian Shannon: January 16, 1966
Sam Slatkin: January 19, 1965 and July 23, 1965
Mike Smith: January 17, 1966
Bob Starobin: July 23, 1965
Sue Stein: January 20, 1966
Jack Weinberg: Early 1965
Steve Weissman: 1965
Andy Wells: October 17, 1965 and January 7, 1966
Arleigh Williams: February 24, 1966
 
Of particular interest are KPFA recordings of the events of Thursday and Friday, October first and second, 1964. The KPFA field recordings were made by Burton White, Jerry Farrell, Mike Eisen, John Whiting, Al Silbowitz, Scott Keach and Dave Bacon, under the direction of Burton White.
 
Marston told me that the FSM paid radio station KPFA $300 to preserve their tapes of FSM events rather than record over them. He believes the tapes are stored in a KPFA archive in Los Angeles. The KPFA tapes that I refer to are duplicates or tapes made for public distribution.
 
In 1965 Marston taped Academic Senate meetings, ASUC meetings, Chancellor's meetings, events at the Spider table, rallies, Spider hearings, Executive Committee meetings, FSU meetings and speeches. Most of the 1965 meetings and events have to do with the Free Student Union and the Filthy Speech Movement.

 

 


Last revision of this page April 29, 2017

 

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