Re: [sixties-l] Who recalls FSM's impact on other campuses?

From: Julie Reuben (
Date: 12/08/00

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    In regards to the impact of the FSM on student activism at 
    other campuses, I am currently researching a book on campus 
    activism in the 1960s and have done a lot of archival work 
    at the National Student Association archives.  It is clear 
    that the FSM was discussed in great depth at the NSA summer 
    congress and students from many schools looked to it as a 
    model for what they wanted to do at their campuses.  Most 
    of these students were already working on engaging students 
    around both on- and off-campus issues at their respective 
    schools.  They were not politicized by the FSM but they 
    took away tactical lessons and and a sense that action 
    that previously seemed impossible might in fact be possible.
    Julie Reuben
    On Wed, 06 Dec 2000 18:55:51 -0500 Ted Morgan 
    <> wrote:
    > A couple of thoughts on Michael's request.  One is, although I'm not by any means the
    > person to contact on this since I was a freshman at the time, there was clearly an
    > awareness of the FSM at Oberlin in fall 1964.  Not only was the left's 'political party'
    > for on-campus elections called SLATE, but that year was marked by an historic Student
    > Congress at which a student ody elected for that purpose --with grass-roots representation
    > down to each individual living unit within dorms-- worked on a year-long project critiquing
    > and proposing alternatives to/remedies for virtually all aspects of campus life --including
    > as I recall off-campus organizing (no comparable problem with "free speech" that I know of
    > at Oberlin), educational policy, and "social rules."  We produced a fairly massive
    > document/manifesto (I think I have a copy in some file), and then had a torch-light march
    > to the President's house in the spring to "present" our report/ recommendations/ 'demands.'
    > Not sure who'd be best to contact.  The central figures tended to be seniors,
    > understandably.  Tim Crane was the president of the SC; other notables included I believe
    > Bob Kuttner, Ed Schwartz (though their participation might have been more as journalists of
    > one kind or another --Kuttner might have been editor of the Review; Schwartz had a popular
    > radio satire)....  Perhaps archives of the Oberlin Review would be a good place to start.
    > I can check for some email addresses if you'd like.
    > A most interesting line of inquiry!  I think I've referred to the FSM 'impact' in the way
    > you describe it, in part because of my Oberlin perceptions.
    > There's an American History web site that would be productive, but alas, I can't remember
    > it's label.
    > Ted Morgan
    > Michael Rossman wrote:
    > > As editor of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement's historical website at
    > > <http:\\>, I hope to illustrate how news of the FSM was received on
    > > other campuses, how its coverage was perceived, and how our brief movement
    > > influenced the development of social activists and activism at other schools.
    > > I'd appreciate contributions of any sort, from brief memories or reflections
    > > to longer memoirs or analyses referring only in part to the FSM. (Likewise for
    > > references to pertinent material already in print or online.)
    > >
    > > As our site's visitors range from scholars to high-school students, some will
    > > be more interested in details of how the FSM affected the formation,
    > > orientation, and tactics of organizations and less-formal groups; and others
    > > more interested in how the FSM affected people personally -- in how they
    > > digested it, what kind of sense it made to them, and where they went with
    > > this. Since I'm gathering such material in slow piecemeal, I can't promise its
    > > prompt appearance online. But I think that each contribution, howsoever
    > > slight, will be meaningful; and that together these will provide valuable
    > > perspectives on our history.
    > >
    > > [A note to scholars: In histories of that era, the FSM is credited routinely
    > > not simply as the first noteable campus conflict, but as the inspirational
    > > spark of an inflammatory chain-reaction on the nation's campuses (and beyond
    > > them.) So far as I know, no one has explored the actual details of how this
    > > putative spark was transmitted to other campuses. A vague, collective
    > > caricature results, as if (news of) the FSM had been some sort of marching
    > > order; save in localized movement studies, the faces of the "ordered" troops
    > > are even vaguer. I suspect that activism's development, within the individuals
    > > who responded to this spark and on their campuses, was more complex and
    > > advanced than has been generally understood. The FSM was indeed a vital
    > > signal; but the story of how it was construed and by whom has never been told,
    > > let alone examined, nor can be save through such detailed collection of recollections.]
    > >
    > >                 Michael Rossman  <>
    > >
    > > P.S. -- as an absolute novice to fishing on the Web, I'd be grateful for
    > > guidance as to where else I mught usefully post this request for contributions.
    > --
    > Ted Morgan
    > Department of Political Science
    > Lehigh University
    > Maginnes Hall #9
    > Bethlehem, PA 18015
    > Phone: (610) 758-3345
    > Fax: (610) 758-6554
    Julie Reuben
    Harvard University Graduate School of Education

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