Free Speech Movement: Womens' Experience

4/18/2021, History News Network, Don't Erase Women's Leadership in the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, Robert Cohen

"To begin with, the first spokesperson for the free speech struggle at Cal-the movement's key voice before Savio and before it even took on the name "Free Speech Movement"-was Jackie Goldberg, a veteran student leader who chaired the initial negotiations with the UC administration. Though Goldberg would soon be replaced by Savio as the Free Speech Movement's key spokesperson, before that happened she played an essential role in achieving a peaceful resolution of the police car blockade."

Margot Adler, selections from "Heretic's Heart"
Jentri Anders blog Berkeley Backlog
Bettina Aptheker, Women and the FSM
Jo Freeman, 1984 Reunion Speech
Suzanne Goldberg, Empowerment and the FSM
Campus Women for Peace from the Rossman-Hollander Report
Bettina Aptheker, 3/24/2014 as part of article on The Free Speech Movement: 50th Anniversary
Lana Brown Muraskin, March 2014, A WOMAN’S PERSPECTIVE on the Free Speech Movement
Sulamith Potter, PhD, Gender in the FSM

10/10/2014, The Daily Californian, For women in the movement, a dual struggle, Katy Abbott

"While many male activists gained experience from joining groups such as the Freedom Riders, who challenged Jim Crow laws by riding segregated buses in the South, the culture was less permissive about letting females set off alone, according to Oregon State University professor emeritus Jean Moule, a veteran of the movement. As a result, many came into FSM and other activist movements lacking the organizing skills gained from such participation, leaving them less prepared from the start and making it harder for their voices to be heard at meetings. 'It was a reflection of the times that there were mostly men doing the talking,' Moule said. 'A single male had an advantage to make those kinds of decisions and get that kind of experience.'"


October 1, 1964:
Jackie Goldberg by Ron Enfield
© Ronald L. Enfield. Used with permission.

Oct. 2, 1964: 
Ann Fagan Ginger speaks; Burton White holds microphone.
Tom Kuykendall photo. (c) FSM-A

November, 1964:
Barbara Garson speaking
Steven Marcus photo used with permission


November 9, 1964
L to R: Mary Hughes, Deborah Bartlett, Suzi Evalenko
Howard Harawitz photo

December, 1964
Patti Iiyama at Women for Peace Table
Ron Hecker photo. Used with permission.
December 2, 1964
Bettina Aptheker
Steven Marcus photo used with permission

November 9, 1964
Alice Waters
Steven Marcus photo used with permission

December 3, 1964, Santa Rita
L to R: Marilyn Noble discusses bail issues with Bob Treuhaft while SF Chronicle reporter Carolyn Anspacher reports.
Ron Enfield photo. used with permission.
  Sept. 16, 2014 Daily Cal Cartoon by Se Yeon Kim depicting Barbara Dane (who was actually playing guitar) singing Malvina Reynolds' song "It Isn't Nice" on December 2, 1964. KPFA/Pacific recording. Listen  


The Women of FSM Central
7/6/1997, Oakland, CA
Interview with Marilyn Noble and Kathleen “Kitty” Piper
By Barbara T. Stack © 1999, 2004, 2009

Highlights [edited for brevity]

Marilyn Noble
But I—in fact I wrote my master’s thesis on it [radical student movements], and that turns me to Berkeley, because I was in the process of trying to write my master’s thesis for my professor at Sac State, who just happened to have a lectureship down here at Berkeley in fall of ’64. Just pure happenstance.

And so I was up on the ninth floor (?) Sociology Department at Berkeley, and we’re talking and I look out, and there’s a police car, with a sea of people around it, and I looked at Dr. [Leonard] Cain and I said “What’s going on?’ and he said, “Well, I don’t understand all the details, but something about political activism on campus.” And I took the box of research I had on what I was trying to write, literally, physically shoved it under his desk and said “I think we’ll get to that later. I’m going downstairs to see what’s happening. And I got down there and within a little bit of time—I’m trying to remember whether it was several hours or actually it was working into the next day, but anyhow, when Mario finally climbed off the police car in his stocking feet, I walked over to him and I said, “Who does your laundry?” And of course the man looked at me as if I was utterly insane, and said, “Well, er, ah, I do.” And I said, “You won’t anymore. You just became a public figure. Where do you live?”

And that’s how I got involved. I basically moved in and took over the housekeeping functions, because I’m a one trick pony, but I manage to keep things going. Housewifery is very easy for me, and I put my skill at the use of my interests and my convictions and that’s why I ended up at… FSM Central basically was the old apartment of Mario and a couple of other people. And the other people sort of drifted out as we moved in en masse...

Kathleen Piper
Early on I got frustrated cause I couldn’t get the information about what was going on. One of my earliest memories with Marilyn was we were standing outside the door of probably the second Executive Committee meeting which was over on Northside in a very dark wood-paneled kind of hall, I forget which it was. We decided we would serve coffee, so we just arranged this coffee urn on a cart and just wheeled ourselves into the door, you know, to find out what everybody was saying and what they were doing and there we were doing this coffee-maid routine. And I was doing it because I wanted to hear what these people were saying; I wanted to understand what these decisions were and who was making them. Pretty shortly they abolished coffee at Ex Com meetings. We got to do that about twice. And then they said, “No more coffee. Ex Com. meetings are already too long. We don’t want people to be comfortable.” The result was of course we had eight or ten hour Ex Com meetings with no relief.

Kathleen Piper
My kind of specialty was communications,.…. I would find out what was happening and I would go tell my husband working in the games room, and by the end of the semester there were fifteen to twenty people coming into that games room every night to ask him what had happened at the Executive Committee Meeting, and what was going to go on the next morning, so all these people could go home to their living groups. Realizing later that someone from Oxford Hall would come, somebody from the dorm would come, you know, and they would go home and discuss with the people they lived with what was up. So by the time people came on campus the next morning and got the leaflet which was their first official word of what was going to occur, they already knew, they already knew what the controversies were, they already knew which personality was on which side if there was a disagreement and they had already made up their minds.

David Lance Goines, The Free Speech Movement, 1993, Ten Speed Press, pp475-76
Renée Melody, my first FSM girlfriend remembers what it was like: 

When I was helping at the original FSM Central, it was sort of the preliminary stages of the Women’s Movement for me. I saw all these women who had no say in the strategy sessions—slaving to cook, slaving to type, slaving to wash dishes for the guys in the hope that one of them would lay one of his beams of light on her and actually acknowledge her existence. It seemed to me that the women threw themselves with a lot of zeal into a submissive position. It was bad enough that the men were asking them—I could understand that; the guys want to make use of you, fine—but why would the women voluntarily do it?
I found that so disgusting that I refused to participate. The way we stopped seeing each other was you called me one night and you wanted me to type and I said, “Look, I got a D in typing. Typing is not my thing.” And you said, “This is what I want you to do. Will you do this to help or not?” And I said, “I will do anything else, but I will not type.” You were not going to ask a man to type; you were going to ask a woman to type. I was willing to help on the things that I knew how to help on, but if I was to be asked to type simply because I was a woman, I was not going to do it. That was over the line. If I’d been asked to answer the phone, to distribute leaflets—something that anybody could do—I would have done it. But not type.
I had a giant crush on you, and I was more interested in being with you than being in the FSM, but I would not degrade myself. Even at that age, I would not degrade myself: if you didn’t want to be with me, fine, I wasn’t going to lay down and die. If you wanted me to do that, it was just not going to happen. And that was the end of that.
There were one or two powerful women, like Bettina and Jackie, but then there were all these groupies that were hoping to have Mario in bed just one night. I thought it was disgusting and degrading, and I wasn’t going to do it.
One afternoon when FSM Central was still up on the hill we decided to kiss ’em all off and go for a ride on that Honda 90—that was the high point for me. I remember the glares of the women—the slave women—as I walked out the door with you just to go and have fun. They hated me! They absolutely hated me! They hated me anyway, because I wouldn’t cook and wash dishes. I was never good at cooking, I was never good at typing, and I wasn’t going to pretend. I didn’t have the consciousness yet that this was a feminist issue; I just knew it offended me, and I wasn’t going to do it.


Interesting Women who participated in the FSM
(much more about them is available online) (and there are many more than listed here)
Arrested 12/3/1964 Margot Adler wiki NPR NY Times Obit  
Arrested 12/3/1964 Bettina Aptheker wiki

The FSM: An Historical Narrative

  Joan Baez wiki site    
Arrested 12/3/1964 Kate Coleman   site    
Arrested 12/3/1964 Stephanie Coontz wiki site    
  Barbara Dane wiki site    
Arrested 12/3/1964 Jo Freeman wiki site    
Arrested 12/3/1964 Barbara Garson FSM-A Page great audio interview On FSM Letters during FSM
  Terry Garthwaite   site    
  Ann Ginger wiki FSM-A Page    
Arrested 12/3/1964 Jackie Goldberg wiki      
Arrested 12/3/1964 Suzanne Goldberg site      
Arrested 12/3/1964 Jean Golson Moule website video    
Arrested 12/3/1964 Mona Hutchin   Young Republican first woman to stand on cable car SF Chron 2/2/1965
  Maxine Hong Kingston wiki FSM participation    
Arrested 12/3/1964 Patti Iiyama family activism    
  Karen McLellan FSM-A Page      
Arrested 12/3/1964 Julia Vinograd poet FSM poems    
  Alice Waters wiki Chez Panisse