Narratives of the
Free Speech Movement
There are many accounts of the conflict, many
stories of the FSM. Though all overlap, no two survey quite the same ground. Though most
agree on much that's important, their different perspectives are rich with variety and
consequence. Our offerings here will include the three vital, book-length histories of the
FSM (two long out-of-print); narrative accounts from formal reports; and personal stories
of the FSM entire and its episodes, in many voices.
As we gather what people have written and reach
out through the Bancroft Library's oral history program, we hope to develop this suite of
personal accounts into a truly collective history of the episode and its consequences.
Personal histories, stories, and
"The Free Speech Movement"
A richly autobiographical account, woven from a
freshwoman's family letters and mature reflection, portraying the FSM as an early, vital
episode in the education of a pagan feminist. (1964, 1996; 34 pp.)
"Present at the Birth: A Free Speech Movement Journal"
The detailed journals of a graduate student
record his involvement during the early action (9/23-10/2) and climactic events (12/1-9).
An evocative personal introduction and a very brief summary of the months between tie the
entries together. (1964, 1984; 18 pp.)
"Inside Sproul Hall" as written to Ralph Gleason
A young reporter assigned to cover the
Sproul Hall sit-in from inside writes about what he can't report. (1964; 5 pp.)
Rossman, "The Birth of the Free Speech Movement"
In a tape-recording made the next morning
(10/3), a graduate student recounts the raw experience of the Police Car Sit-in, and
recalls the developments leading to this crisis, launching the FSM's historical project.
(1964; 18 pp.)
Draper, Berkeley: the New Student Revolt
(1965, 150 pp.)
A coherent history by an independent Socialist,
allied to the FSM. Draper's well-paced account of the political drama, extending through
Spring 1965, is informed by serious analysis of many themes. Many will find this the most
useful book-length treatment of the FSM.
David Lance Goines, The Free Speech
Movement (1993, 624 pp. + 130 pp. appendices, etc.)
Goines' enthusiastic story of his involvement at
age 19 continues through his jail term in 1967, and justifies the book's subtitle,
"Coming of Age in the 1960s." Yet this is the broadest account of the FSM from
its own perspective, for the narrative is richly woven with hundreds of pages of
interviews with other participants, illuminating key developments and perspectives.
Max Heirich, The Spiral of Conflict:
Berkeley, 1964 (1971, 428 pp. + 74 pp. appendices, etc.)
This sociological study focuses on the dynamics
of communication and conflict among students, faculty, and administration. Heirich's
careful documentation makes this the most detailed and reliable chronological record of
the conflict's events and interactions. His analysis clarifies the immediate
interest-dynamics that made the conflict's progression inexorable.
Narratives from formal reports
From "Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Student Conduct" (Oct. 1964, 4 of 13
This narrative by a committee of the Academic
Senate covers events through the student "infractions" of September 30, from a
perspective of possible disciplinary action. Though less actively critical of the
administration than the Byrne Report's later account, it helped shape faculty opinion
during the conflict.
"The FSM: An Historical Narrative" (Feb. 1965, 24 pp.)
Less personal than most participant reports, but
hardly less passionate. Aptheker's methodical review of tactics and strategy -- from the
perspective of a political organizer, informed by membership on the FSM's Steering
Committee and in the Communist Party -- is the best medium-sized introduction to the FSM's
story. (It largely left political interpretation to a companion essay in the W.E.B. DuBois
Clubs' booklet on the FSM.)
"Highlights of the Fall Events" from
the Byrne Report to the Board of Regents (July 1965, 6 of 50 pp.)
A brief, relatively objective review, from an
investigation commissioned by a Committee of the Regents.
From Appellants' Opening Brief, People
of the State of California vs. Mario Savio and 571 Others (1966, 32 of 284 pp.)
This narrative focuses on facts pertinent to
defense of those arrested in the FSM's climactic sit-in. Its last 20 pages cover the
events of December 2-3 in considerable technical detail.