This week on From The Vault we contrast today’s political movements with the Free Speech Movement of 1964, an organic occurrence on the Campus of the University of California at Berkeley that was fueled by the same desire to stand up for freedoms protected by the United States Constitution.
On October 1, 1964 former UC Berkeley Graduate Student Kinky Friedman (Jack Weinberg) was arrested for violating new school policy for tabling on school grounds. Weinberg was loaded into the squad car, but before the officer could leave hundreds of students surrounded the vehicle, ultimately using the police car itself as a pulpit, as the Free Speech Movement was launched.
As with most historically significant events, they don’t happen in a vacuum. They evolve from events that preceded them, events that sometimes go unnoticed. As we listen to a segment from the 1979 documentary on the Free Speech Movement, we hear from Bettina Aptheker, one of the original leaders of the movement, reflecting back on the events leading up to the October 1, 1964 student action.
Much of the daily activity of the Free Speech Movement participants was recorded by KPFA reporters, who lugged portable reel-to-reel machines around the city, following the stream of significant events that took place throughout 1964-1965. Gary Handman, Director of the Media Resources Center at the University of California Berkeley Moffit Library, describes the significance of the Pacifica audio recordings.
From the Vault is presented through the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, past grants from the Grammy Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners.
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