50th Anniversary of Free Speech Movement and Its Devolvement

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement and the iconic speech delivered by Mario Savio from the top of a police car in Sproul Plaza at the University of California at Berkeley. The vibrant crusader for free speech implored fellow students to protest the university’s ban on political activities.

The epic moment triggered the beginning of the Free Speech Movement (FSM), which ultimately gave rise to nationwide anti-war demonstrations, civil disobedience protests, and student unrest on university campuses across the nation.

In a tribute to the movement and the now deceased Savio, FSM alumni will revisit the campus for a reunion replete with dedications honoring the protest, including FSM: The Musical at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. The play was co-written by no other than the FSM’s legendary leader’s son, Daniel Savio.

According to the Cal Alumni Association’s magazine, Daniel wrote it in collaboration with two veterans of The San Francisco Mime Troupe, Joan Holden, M.A. ’64, and Bruce Barthol, ’68. Barthol as a freshman was at Sproul Plaza and witnessed history taking place.

The reunion, celebrated, Sept. 26–Oct. 3, features a rally at Sproul Plaza on Wednesday, which also represents the 50th anniversary of the arrest of former grad student/protester Jack Weinberg, who coined the phrase, “Never trust anyone over 30.”


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