Re: [sixties-l] more .. generations

From: William Mandel (
Date: Wed Jun 07 2000 - 21:17:54 CUT

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    Sandra Hollin Flowers' moving reminiscence finds remarkable
    parallels in one my somewhat older daughter wrote thirty years
    after attending the anniversary commemoration of the Free Speech
       "And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air gave
    proof to the night that our flag was still there...and in a rage
    at our government's disgrace of our flag, (Vietname War period)
    people tore the flags down and burned them.
       "The FSM was a result of off-campus organizing and the desire
    of young people all over the country involved in civil rights and
    civil liberties, to organize. It wasn't Freedom of Speech for
    anything, it was Freedom of Speech for many things: for wanting
    to end hunger, poverty, lack of housing, lack of our poor
    education or educational opportunities, and later freedom of
    speech against the Viet Nam War. It was the RIGHT TO THINK FOR
       "I want to thank all the stars of the FSM, the spokespeople,
    and the unknowns who sat there that day while Jack Weinberg was
    in that [police] car [surrounded by students who wouldn't let it
    leave] and vindicated MY RAGE at my McCarthy anti-red witch-hunt
    period education during which I was penalized for my
    outspokenness...The FSM tried to 'Let Amrica Be America Again'--a
    poem by Lanston Hughes, African American poet, that my parents in
    their wisdom provided me outside of my public school education to
        "I grew up in NYC in the '50s. 'What did you learn in school
    today, dear little child of mine?', a line from a Pete Seeger
    song: I learned that Negroes supposedly liked slavery, and that a
    black young boy whom I liked hung himself by his tie in the boys'
    bathroom, that a senator named McCarthy was good for our country
    because he was protecting us from 'communists' and that my Dad of
    course was a bad guy, because he was one of the folks being
    witch-hunted. I learned that it was OK to execute two Jews for
    'conspiracy to commit espionage' and that a 12 year old child
    (ME) should 'go back to Russia' (where I wasn't born) for
    standing up for them. I learned that Paul Robeson, one of
    Amrica's greatest African Amricans, shouldn't be allowed to sing
    because he was a 'known communist,' and I learned that it was OK
    for six kids to live in one room with rats and roaches. My public
    school was 85% Black, my junior high school was 80% Black, 15%
    Puerto Rican, and 5% white.
        "Somehow after I graduated high school in the year 1957 (the
    year our government instituted the 'under G-d' in our Pledge of
    Allegiance, a violation of our country's separation of church and
    state) I couldn't stomach school anymore, and there I found
    myself that November of 1964, sitting in Sproul Plaza [the
    beginning of FSM] with my five month old son in my arms, weeping
    in gratefulness that a lot of white middle class kids who got to
    go to the uptown schools and got their books at the beginning of
    their semester, while I got mine two months down the road, seemed
    to be pretty outraged at our most respect institutions making a
    farce of our constitution and beliefs in Freedom of Speech and
    Freedom to Assemble, and in fact, Freedom to Learn. I never was a
    good student after I graduated high school, I kept dropping out.
    My grades weren't good enough to get into the illustrious
    university and my anger at anything that was authority or that
    told me lies in my class was so strong that even when it wasn't
    there I thought it was...
        "Yours for a better life for all!"
        Emphases in the original. Source is my autobiography, Saying
    No To Power, pp. 393-4.
                                            William M. Mandel
    Sandra Hollin Flowers wrote:
    Interesting material on the 6-s in my website:

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