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Mario Savio, shown here at a victory rally in UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza on Dec. 9, 1964, was the face of the free speech movement. Public Domain.

fsm @ 50!

Today is the 50th anniversary of the start of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement. It was an historic moment, when hundreds of students blocked a police car on campus after the arrest of Jack Weinberg who had set up a table on Bancroft aimed at mobilizing students for civil rights protest.

During the hours of occupation, students used the roof of the car as a platform for debating the nature of the university and of protest. The FSM spearheaded a series of massive protests and strikes, culminating in a victory—UC finally conceded that students could have, on campus, the same political rights that citizens took for granted in the wider society. The FSM helped ignite the student movement of the sixties whose historic reverberations we are still experiencing.

At Berkeley this semester the UC administration is sponsoring official commemorations of those events, and FSM veterans have descended on the campus to share their reflections with the current student generation.

On the radio this week—documentary recordings of the police car protest, the full speech Mario Savio delivered later that semester calling for massive civil disobedience and some of the songs of the movement.

culture of protest thurs 10/2/14  6 pm pdt kcsb 91.9fm streams  worldwide: www.kcsb.org