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I have a question. Why did the Berkeley Free Speech Movement call itself that, when it was an anti-war movement? Well, Berkeley administrators prohibited any kind of political activity on campus, as the Vietnam war protests heated up.

Answer and conclusion: schools cannot interfere with your right to free speech. That was a main argument of the movement at Berkeley. It was the Supreme Court’s argument, when it decided Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, argued before the court on November 12, 1968.

Mr. Krohn, my ninth-grade civics teacher at Callanan Middle School in Des Moines,  criticized the protesters in Chicago, who fought police in Chicago at the Democratic National Convention in August. We returned to school just a week after the street battles. We would call it a civil disturbance today, but it was a lot more than that! It was also on everyone’s minds, as students returned to school at the beginning of September.

Scenes from Chicago disturbed onlookers, to be sure. Police beat protesters wantonly. The standoff between protesters and police lasted eight days. The convention took place from August 23 – 28, with most of those days marked by violence. What is the relationship – favorite academic question, because then you can do regression analysis! – between attitudes about free speech, and what happened during the Chicago riots in August 1968?

Three-word answer: nothing at all. Longer answer: everything.

Good article, with good photographs:

‘A party that had lost its mind’: In 1968, Democrats held one of history’s most disastrous conventions

Wikipedia entry:

Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District


Eugene McCarthy was asked by reporter Marie Ridder if he was bitter about Humphrey’s victory, according to Charles Kaiser’s book “1968 in America.” McCarthy responded: “No use being bitter about Hubert. He is too dumb to understand bitterness.”

Video recordings:

Social Confrontation: The Battle of Michigan Ave (1968, Film Group)

Chicago 1968: Violence outside & on the Democratic convention floor

1968 Democratic Convention

The last one is a fifty-minute documentary, well done.