Sitting In and Speaking Out
Student Movements in the American South, 1960-1970
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Georgia Press
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IT IS NOT UNCOMMON for scholars of the 1960s to begin their treatments of the decade with a bit of autobiography. The decade at times seems to demand a taking of sides, a declaration of identity. I see nothing inherently wrong with this tendency, the existence of which points to the passions that events continue to inspire. In the years I spent on this project, I witnessed this passion time...
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IN MAY 1970, Jerry Rubin, the infamous Yippie activist, delivered a speech at the University of Alabama. By then, Rubin was a national figure, admired by some, reviled by others. The University of Alabama also had claims on the national consciousness—as the scene of the segregationist Governor George C. Wallace's audacious 1963 attempt to block the school's integration and as the...
1. Southern Campuses in 1960
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TRENT LOTT LATER RECALLED being overwhelmed–in the thrall of the colorful pageant that is Ole Miss–by the campus of the University of Mississippi. It was the fall of 1959. He was a freshman from Pascagoula, in southern Mississippi, and had considered attending Tulane University in New Orleans before choosing the University of Mississippi because he preferred its...
2. Nonviolent Direct Action and the Rise of a Southern Student Movement
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THE TENSION BEFORE a demonstration was palpable, enough to make it difficult for a student to concentrate on her professor, on the day's material. Looming in the near future was another sit-in and the possibility of jail, violence, or both. These were heavy burdens for someone in late adolescence, especially when she tried to juggle the demands of a movement with the more...
3. White Students, the Campus, and Desegregation
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IN THE EARLY DAYS of the Atlanta student movement, Constance Curry, Southern Project director for the U.S. National Student Association (NSA), tried to recruit students from Atlanta's white colleges for sit-ins. "Somehow or other I scraped up a white representative from every college, even Georgia Tech," she later recalled. "They only came to one meeting because they were...
43. Building a Southern Movement
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IN OCTOBER 1963, Anne Braden was wondering why Samuel C. Shirah Jr., the campus traveler for the White Students Project operated by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), was late with an article for the Southern Patriot on the reaction of Birmingham-Southern College students to the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing on 15 September. Perhaps, she...
5. From the Community to the Campus, from University Reform to Student Power
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IN THE SPRING of 1965, Berkeley Free Speech Movement (FSM) veteran Steven Weissman toured the South. He visited twenty-seven colleges in ten southern states, and twenty-five hundred students heard him talk about the recent demonstrations at Berkeley and the idea of "university reform," a phrase that was beginning to gain currency. Sponsored by the Southern Student...
6. Student Power and Black Power at the South’s Negro Colleges
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THE SIT-INS of the early 1960s opened the black campus up to criticism. When the presidents of these institutions responded to the threat or reality of student-led demonstrations by attempting to limit student and faculty involvement, they invited questions about the limits of academic freedom. From this opening grew a more detailed critique of the black college or university. In many...
7. Black Power on White Campuses
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ON CAMPUSES throughout the United States, black students and racial issues were central to the student unrest of the late 1960s. But racial issues were, if anything, more important in a region lurching toward a new, postsegregation society. What would integration mean in institutions for whose whiteness some southerners had so recently been willing to fight? What would it mean to black...
8. The War in the South
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STUDENT ACTIVISM reached its second zenith in the South in the two years that preceded May 1970. On most of the region's major public and private university campuses, activists forced at least one dramatic confrontation between early 1968 and the end of the 1969–70 academic year. These confrontations involved large numbers of students–often hundreds and sometimes even...
9. Southern Campuses at Decade’s End
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IN FEBRUARY 1968, Joseph P. Long was a disappointed freshman. Long had come to Vanderbilt from Springfield, Tennessee, some twenty miles north of Nashville, to study mechanical engineering in hopes of one day becoming an astronaut. A decade before, the "avowed Southern conservative" probably would have felt quite comfortable on the Nashville campus. But Long found Vanderbilt...
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Page Count: 380
Illustrations: 10 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2010