[sixties-l] student activism & NSA

From: Sdsrebels@aol.com
Date: 12/08/00

  • Next message: Tom Nagy, Ph.D.: "[sixties-l] Great rebuttal!"

    This is in response to Julie Reuben's posting on '60s campus activism.
    I hope that in your research into campus activism in the 60s you are looking 
    beyond NSA (National Student Association) (unless you're defining your 
    subject very narrowly).  NSA was valuable in many ways but consisted mainly 
    of delegates from student government and was a great forum for discussion but 
    it was not an action organization and the people who went were generally not 
    activists but student government types.  Tho some student governments did get 
    involved in campus reforms, that was not the main activism of the 60s.  
    Sometimes student government people turned into activists.  SDS (Students for 
    a Democratic Society) saw NSA as a way to meet and recruit smart, thinking 
    students and let them know more about social/political issues.  Some NSA 
    delegates became very involved in SDS and other groups after NSA congresses 
    and SDS and other groups urged NSA to act more, but it was not a hotbed of 
    student activism.  I was an alt NSA delegate from Radcliffe in 1962, mostly 
    because I had led a big (& successful) fight against dorm ('parietal') hours 
    on campus.  I knew about SDS before that NSA congress but learned much more 
    about it there, soon got more involved in SDS, and went back to NSA 2 years 
    later, when I was asst nat'l sec of SDS, to run SDS's 'Liberal Study Group" 
    (a caucus to present a more liberal/radical view of things) at the 1964 NSA 
    congress (as I remember we took SDS literature, put out a daily paper, and 
    held meetings on social issues).
    I hope you managed to catch the showing of REBELS WITH A CAUSE at the Harvard 
    Film Archives a few weeks ago.  The film covers only a small amount of what 
    was happening on campuses (and omits, because of time constraints, most of 
    the campus-only-oriented battles, such as campus rules and free speech) but 
    will give you a different perspective and a good idea of what was happening 
    on campuses then.  
    Helen Garvy (director, REBELS WITH A CAUSE)
    26873 Hester Creek Rd
    Los Gatos, CA  95033

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