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At Berkeley in the Sixties The Making of an Activist by Jo Freeman

At Berkeley in the Sixties The Making of an Activist


At Berkeley in the Sixties The Making of an Activist by Jo Freeman

This book is a memoir and a history of Berkeley in the early Sixties. As a young undergraduate, Jo Freeman was a key participant in the growth of social activism at the University of California, Berkeley. The story is told with the you are there immediacy of Freeman the undergraduate but is put into historical and political context by Freeman the scholar, 35 years later. It draws heavily on documents created at the time-letters, reports, interviews, memos, newspaper stories, FBI files-but is fleshed out with retrospective analysis. As events unfold, the campus conflicts of the Sixties take on a completely different cast, one that may surprise many readers.


When Jo Freeman began her undergraduate education in 1961, the University of California, Berkeley, like many colleges then, took in loco parentis seriously. Administrative rules enforced curfews, banned political groups from operating on campuses and forced professors to sign loyalty oaths. Freeman and other students joined Slate, a permanent student political party that began by protesting racial segregation in fraternities and sororities, then quickly moved on to demonstrate against the death penalty, for civil rights in the South and for fair housing in Berkeley. The more the university attempted to crack down on student unrest, the larger the dissident groups grew. The arrest of one alumnus for handing out leaflets at a student-only table led to the birth of the Free Speech Movement. Freeman, author of A Room at a Time: How Women Entered Party Politics and other works about feminism, brings enormous research to bear on her heady college days. In a book that is less memoir than political history, the descriptions of some of the players and of her own life pale against the campus uprisings - sparks that allowed later protests against the war in Vietnam to ignite. Karla Jay International Herald Tribune

About the Author

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Book Info

Publication date

15th December 2003


Jo Freeman

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Indiana University Press


384 pages


Political activism



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