Anderson, Terry H. The Movement and the Sixties. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.
Terry H. Anderson, a history professor at Texas A & M University, provides a clear and concise history that defines the Movement in broad terms. He presents his analysis as a timeline of student activism rather than emphasizing key figures or tracing the rise and fall of prominent organizations, asserting that the movement was generally leaderless. He also refrains from mentioning particular issues such as race or gender and instead uses broad generalizations to describe activist participants. In the preface, Anderson claims that his work “will challenge the previous interpretations emphasizing leaders, organizations, and ideology” (xviii). Anderson's kaleidoscopic review of events marks a turning point in sixties scholarship by trying to include so many topics in one volume.
This book is useful in that it is almost encyclopedic in its interpretation and presentation of the Movement. Anderson’s writing is straightforward and his broad overview of events allow for a basic knowledge of sixties activism. For my project, I found this book to be the best for understanding the general concerns of students, the cultural influences of the time, and the causes and effects of student protests. It also helped me to create a chronology of events in order to know what was occurring simultaneously with the demonstrations at FSU. Although Anderson barely mentions Florida in this work, The Movement and the Sixties is nonetheless important for understanding the basic concepts of this particular time in history.
Bacciocco, Edward. The New Left in America: Reform to Revolution, 1956-1970. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1974.
Edward Bacciocco’s book provides a balanced look at the history of the New Left, its political and social significance, and reasons for its decline. Unlike the work of many other scholars, Bacciocco creates a highly descriptive narrative that focuses on the development and decline of the New Left. His analysis was “neither an apologia nor a critique” (xiv). He points out that the spirit of the Movement changed dramatically in the second half of the decade from 1965 to 1970 and that the major student-led groups became increasingly radical, which eventually led to the ineffectiveness and decline of the New Left. Published shortly after the end of the most turbulent decade, The New Left in America provided a refreshingly dispassionate examination of New Left politics.
Bacciocco’s work is relevant to my research because the student activism at Florida State University largely revolved around the rise and decline of a single group: the local chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). As Bacciocco observed about the New Left movement, the SDS at Florida State emerged in the second half of the decade and the group’s ideology became increasingly radicalized until its split in 1970. The New Left in America provides enough background information on 1960s liberal politics for me to recognize the similarities between the larger movement and the events at FSU.
Evans, Sara M. Personal Politics: The Roots of Women’s Liberation in the Civil Rights Movement and the New Left. 1st ed. New York: Knopf, 1979.
In this book, Sara Evans provides a fresh and innovative examination of civil unrest from the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s to the rise of second-wave feminism in the 1970s. Currently a history professor at the University of Minnesota, Evans used her personal experience as a civil rights activist and women’s liberationist to enhance her research. She focuses this work on how the role of women in the Civil Rights Movement and New Left politics inspired the second-wave feminist movement, covering white, black, northern, and southern women. She argues that for young women of the fifties and sixties, “a particular set of experiences in the southern civil rights movement and parts of the student new left catalyzed a new feminist consciousness” (23). With Personal Politics, Evans uses an original approach to analyzing student unrest by pointing out the implications of sexist attitudes and social limitations for women in the 1950s and 60s. Although the emphasis of her book is on the feminist movement of the seventies, Evans’s work is like previous sixties scholarship in that it is a reaction to recent events.
Personal Politics differs from any other source I consulted in that Evans adds women’s voices to the historical conversation. As such, this particular work offers information that is important for my digital project. In Tallahassee, much of the civil rights activism and student protest activity of the sixties included female participants, yet society reinforced gendered inequality and eventually led to a local feminist movement. It is especially vital to consider the restrictive social status of female students at FSU and how they advocated change within their university. With this in mind, I was able to look out for particular items that could represent the female student experience at FSU in the late 1960s and avoid a male-dominated portrayal of events.
Farber, David R., ed. The Sixties: From Memory to History. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
David R. Farber’s edited collection contains a wide-ranging variety of essays by distinguished historians that contribute to any study of the sixties and early seventies. Farber introduces the collection as a representation “of the most exciting ways in which historian are beginning to paint those times onto the larger canvas of American history,” and that they focus on two specific concepts: cultural authority and political legitimacy. The essays cover such topics as popular culture, politics, women’s liberation, foreign relations, and racial issues. Each contributor presents a thoroughly researched and well-written article to provide even the casual reader with a wealth of information. The most important aspect of this collection is that the historians discuss more than the student unrest and by doing so form a most complete view of the civil unrest that dominated the decade.
For my general background research, no part of this volume was more important than the rest. As a whole, the collection is a balanced and thorough representation of the sixties. For the more specific research about student issues, the most useful articles are Alice Echols’s “Nothing Distant about It: Women’s Liberation and Sixties Radicalism” and George Lipsitz’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain?: Youth Culture, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Social Crises” because they provide interesting perspectives on these relevant topics. Perhaps the book’s greatest contribution to my research was that it inspired me to question how historians interpret and present this period in history, which also makes me aware of my own work.
Marshall, J. Stanley. The Tumultuous Sixties: Campus Unrest and Student Life at a Southern University. Tallahassee, FL: Sentry Press, 2006.
J. Stanley Marshall was president of Florida State from 1969 to 1976, during its most turbulent time. The Tumultuous Sixties is a memoir of the challenges and changes the university faced during that decade. He begins his narrative with the infamous 1968 Night of Bayonets and concludes with fond memories of his later years as president. Marshall states that his reason for writing this book was to tell the little-known story of one of the most important times in FSU’s history so that “the events…should not go unrecorded” (xv). It is also partly a response to Stephen Parr’s dissertation “The Forgotten Radicals,” in which, according to Marshall, Parr empathizes with the protesters and often casts the administration in an unfavorable light. Marshall’s interpretation of events provides a unique glimpse into the inner workings of the university administration during that troubling time.
The greatest weakness of this book is that Marshall gives too much attention to the actions of SDS, rarely mentioning the existence of other student groups, and almost all of his primary sources are articles from the Flambeau. On the other hand, Marshall covers a wide variety of topics and includes several appendices that greatly enrich the book.
The Tumultuous Sixties is an integral part of my research and I constantly refer back to it. Not only is it unlike any other sixties scholarship because of its focus on FSU, but it is also matchless in its illumination of the president’s perspective of events. In this way, Marshall’s memoir is incomparable to Parr’s dissertation because they both provide integral information about Florida State during the sixties and early seventies.
Miller, Jim. Democracy Is in the Streets: From Port Huron to the Siege of Chicago. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987.
James Miller’s work is a milestone in historical scholarship about the sixties Movement. The baseline of this book is examining the rise and fall of the New Left, like Bacciocco’s The New Left in America, but Miller delivers a biographical approach to investigating the New Left’s “participatory democracy.” He recounts the history of SDS and discusses the lives of key individuals who were active leaders of the group, intertwining history and biography. In this way, Miller contributes a great deal to the ongoing discussion of the rise and decline of the New Left. He determines that “the original vision of democracy was all but forgotten. The spirit of ecstatic freedom proved impossible to sustain” (317). To reach this conclusion, Miller used SDS documents, performed his own interviews, and used excerpts from some of the decade’s most notable memoirs. Although Miller provides one of the richest histories of the Movement, his innovative work is not flawless. Like other works before, Miller focuses only on the white movement leaders and fails to offer a parallel endeavor for civil rights activism and its effect on participatory democracy.
As mentioned above, SDS was a particularly active group at FSU, and I used Miller’s book to gain a better picture of the larger national organization and to compare the relatively peaceful group of FSU students to the national organization that advocated violent overthrow of the government. The local chapter’s association with the national SDS caused one of the most prominent issues of the time: official recognition by the university administration. Miller’s comprehensive history of SDS helped me to understand why.
Parr, Stephen Eugene. “The Forgotten Radicals: The New Left in the Deep South, Florida State University, 1960 to 1972,” Ph.D. dissertation, Florida State University, 2000.
The purpose of Parr’s dissertation is to prove that radical white student activity was just as strong in southern universities as it was in other areas of the country, despite the prevalent belief that only black civil rights activism occurred in the South. He argues that Florida State University was one of the most active southern campuses and follows the actions of its students and administrators. He concludes that the activism at Florida State occurred later in the decade than at universities elsewhere, and along with the typical Southern conservatism, prevented the South from becoming as violent and extreme as other areas of the United States. Parr utilizes a wide variety of primary sources (including newspapers, oral histories, and personal papers), but his heavy use of Flambeau articles makes his analysis of events somewhat skewed and the work lacks balance between student and administrative points of view. Even so, “The Forgotten Radicals” was an essential part of my research.
Parr’s dissertation was useful in the creation of my project because I explore a similar topic and his work inspired me to look further and ask new questions. As one of very few histories of FSU during the sixties, this work was especially beneficial because it provided essential background information that I would not have found in any other sixties scholarship, enough for me to build my own representation of events and create a richer and more detailed history. Most of all, “The Forgotten Radicals” reminded me to not rely too heavily on a single, often-biased source such as a student-produced newspaper.
Phillips, Donald E. Student Protest, 1960-1969: An Analysis of the Issues and Speeches. Washington: University Press of America, 1980.
This book is a detailed examination of the student protests that took place across the country during the sixties. Phillips begins with the Greensboro sit-ins in 1969 and concludes after the Kent State shooting in 1970, arguing that the student protest movement was a social phenomenon that deserves such close attention. The focus of Student Protest is on the “speeches, editorials, documents, reports, and actions of the period as they represent and express the movement in the process of its development” (x). Phillips methodically breaks down the sixties into two-year intervals and then spends time discussing the particular issues for each one, all while analyzing excerpts from his primary sources. The work contains an incredible amount of block quotes taken directly from primary sources such as newspapers, magazines, and personal letters, but most of the text is Phillips’s inquiry into the most prominent issues of the decade. Even though there are no reviews readily available, the numerous sources and meticulous analyses make Student Protest a trustworthy source for information about the reasons behind the 1960s civil unrest.
Phillips’s book provides a comprehensive look at what occurred prior to and simultaneously with the student demonstrations at Florida State. He analyzes many sources that students at FSU would have read or heard about. Although he only recognizes the largest and most prominent universities as sites of unrest, his breakdown of the student consciousness is pivotal for understanding how students at smaller institutions (such as FSU) might have considered the larger national issues. Furthermore, he includes in his discussion the actions and reactions of the national SDS, which was cause for concern on the campus in Tallahassee.
Rabby, Glenda Alice. The Pain and the Promise: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Tallahassee, Florida. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1999.
Glenda Alice Rabby’s “Out of the Past” is an exceptional analysis of the Civil Rights Movement that occurred in Tallahassee in the early 1960s. Writing with a clear voice, she begins with the bus boycott of 1956 and follows the actions of prominent and ordinary black citizens as they fought against racial discrimination, arguing that the movement transformed race relations on every level of human interaction. She traces the development of the local movement from its inception to the Black Power movement of the late sixties. She discusses how the black community rallied behind their Christian ethics before becoming more militant in their protest, and how students at FSU and FAMU contributed to the efforts. The greatest strength of Rabby’s work is that she spends considerable time discussing the cooperation between white and black citizens, which was a significant part of the national movement. Rabby also uses a variety of primary and secondary sources, many of which are useful to my own research.
Rabby’s book is my most important source for knowing how FSU students reacted to the local Civil Rights Movement. The participation of both black and white students in the early-1960s Civil Rights Movement contributed to their participation in the protests and demonstrations that rocked the campus in the late-1960s and “Out of the Past” provides the information necessary for me to present the background of the student activist movement at FSU. In addition, her bibliography has led me to other important sources that I might not have discovered otherwise.
Turner, Jeffrey A. Sitting in and Speaking Out: Student Movements in the American South, 1960-1970. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2010.
Jeffrey A. Turner argues that there was a significant amount of student activism on southern campuses during the 1960s despite the preconceived notion that little of consequence occurred within the region at that time. He rightfully claims that this book differs from previous studies for not only its geographic focus but also its biracial focus, as he discusses white and black student activism separately (3). Turner’s contribution to the Sixties scholarship provides an outstanding look at how the South fits into the national story of student movements and he convincingly argues that the Southern student movements are worthy of national recognition. It is clear throughout Sitting In and Speaking Out that Turner conducted extensive research to obtain evidence of student movements in the South. He often quotes from articles in university newspapers and from oral histories of movement leaders. His endnotes are lengthy, containing interesting vignettes into history, and his bibliography is composed of more than a hundred secondary resources.
Although Turner’s book contains more narrative than analysis, it contributed greatly to my research because of its singular emphasis: the South. No other scholarship offered the same amount of information about Southern white and black students. The student unrest at FSU did not happen in a vacuum, and it is helpful to have some knowledge about what the students were hearing about other Southern campuses.