Dear Sixties Aficionados, Scholars, and Relentless Activists:
I'm a student at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, and I
recently completed my senior thesis on white student radicalism at the
Claremont Colleges between 1966 and 1970. Although I've already submitted
the thesis, I intend to significantly expand my paper and deposit the
narrative history in the College Archives. Before I continue with my
project, however, I was hoping that some members of this list might shed
some light on a few questions I have:
1. What ever happened to Timothy Peebles? Peebles was the San Francisco
State Black Student Union (BSU) member who accidentally blew himself up on
March 5, 1969, while planting a bomb in the SF State Creative Arts Building.
Claremont had bombings at Pomona and Scripps Colleges (two of the
undergraduate schools that comprise the Claremont Colleges) in late February
of that year, and investigators linked the devices to an earlier explosion
at Southwestern College in Los Angeles. After the SF State explosion,
Peebles became the main suspect in the Claremont bombings, although charges
were never filed (the Claremont bombings occurred right before the Pomona
College faculty was set to vote on the Claremont BSU's plan for an
autonomous Black Studies Center).
2. Are there any dissertations, papers, articles, or monographs that
explore how campus clergy fostered and channeled student dissent at colleges
and universities and the extent of their involvement in radical activism?
The Claremont chaplains led marches and rallies, established a draft
counseling center, and delivered radical sermons during chapel services.
Claremont Colleges Chaplain James Joseph, who later served as President
Clinton's ambassador to South Africa, once delivered a sermon endorsing the
Black Manifesto penned by James Forman. Essentially, the Claremont clergy
turned the campus religious activities center into the physical and
spiritual hub of white radical activism on campus.
Doug Rossinow's book (The Politics of Authenticity) explores how the
University of Texas-Austin YM/YWCA and the Christian-Faith-and-Life
Community fostered liberal dissent in the early Sixties. However, once he
starts discussing the latter New Left (1966-1970), the religious aspect
disappears from his narrative. Ken Heineman's Campus Wars occasionally
makes reference to clergy activism at the four public colleges he profiled
(Michigan State, SUNY-Buffalo, Kent State, and Penn State). Are there any
historiographical materials that specifically examine the activist role
played by campus clergy?
3. Are there any dissertations, papers, articles, or monographs that
explore campus radicalism at small, private liberal arts colleges? I would
like to compare Claremont activism to the radical activities at comparable
4. Do you know any former Claremont activists who are willing to share
their experiences? The student and community newspapers mention the same
five or so names in every article on student dissent. (FYI, one of those
names is Jim Miller, a former Pomona student and radical anarchist who
attended the 1969 SDS convention supporting Murray Bookchin's anarchist
platform. Miller later wrote Democracy Is in the Streets, which led the
Sixties historiographical avalanche of 1987 and prompted Tom Hayden to
complete his memoirs.) I would like to interview some of the activists who
weren't media darlings to get their opinion on the Movement leaders in
Claremont. Yes Claremont is a relatively small place, but I figure some
subscribers to this list might work with or otherwise know Claremont
Colleges alumni. Perhaps your "six degrees of separation" might produce a
few valuable leads. By the way, if anybody on this list knows the present
whereabouts of one Jim Kulk, I'd greatly appreciate your assistance in
tracking him down. Kulk was a Claremont Graduate School student and leader
of the SDS chapter there. I've inquired around Claremont, but nobody knows
what happened to him after he left in 1970 without completing his Ph.D.
5. (The easiest question to answer!) I'm curious: what is former National
SDS leader Greg Calvert up to these days? I know he went back to school
some years ago and obtained a Ph.D. from the UC Santa Cruz History of
Conciousness program. Is he teaching anywhere?
Thank you for your assistance -- I certainly appreciate whatever tidbits of
information you might provide. Thank you, too, for continuing the
discussion and debate over the many facets of this fascinating era.
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