Synopsis by Tom Wiener
Berkeley in the Sixties takes a fond, if not always loving, look back at the epicenter of leftist political activism during the seventh decade of the 20th century. The free speech movement caught national attention in 1964 when the University of California tried to suppress activists distributing literature and making speeches in an outdoor plaza on campus. On December 3, Governor Edmund "Pat" Brown ordered the arrest of demonstrators who had occupied the University's Sproul Hall; over 1,500 protestors were taken into custody in what was then the largest mass arrest in U.S. history. The escalation of the Vietnam War kept the winds of dissent blowing in Berkeley, and TV coverage of the 1964 demonstrations and subsequent clashes with the police fueled similar protests on other campuses. Off-campus, Berkeley was also home to a strong chapter of the Black Panther Party, which offered a more violent alternative to the established civil rights organizations. Vintage clips of the demonstrations and official reactions to them from Brown and his successor, Ronald Reagan, are supplemented by contemporary interviews with activists and observers who offer both reminiscences of and perspectives on the period.
activism, anti-war, Black-Panthers, Civil-Rights, college-town, counter-culture, school