Mario Savio’s infamous Sproul Hall Sit-in Address given on December 2, 1964 at the University of California, Berkeley was given at the height of the Free Speech Movement. Many students, including Savio, spent the summer on 1964 down in Mississippi registering black sharecroppers to vote during Freedom Summer. They were radicalized in the South and began to tune into the necessity for Free Speech on college campuses to protect and expand Civil Rights.
Berkeley in the Sixties (1990) directed by Mark Kitchell chronicles the emergence of the Free Speech Movement at the University of California, Berkeley in the fall semester of 1964. Kitchell masterfully uses oral history interviews and historical footage to integrate the story of SLATE and the student uprising in the larger historical context of the anti-Vietnam movement, the rise of the Black Panther Party, as well as the counter-culture.
There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!
For more information:
- Visit the U.S. History Scene reading list for the Long Civil Rights Movement