Freedom Now! to Free Speech: How the 1963-64 Bay Area Civil Rights Demonstrations Paved the Way to Campus Protest

Historical Essay

by Jo Freeman, originally published here, reposted with permission.

CORE-shop-in-at-Lucky-grocery-store-1201-Gough-Street-1964 SFPL.jpg

Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) shop-in at Lucky store at 1201 Gough Street, 1964.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library

Sometime in late March or early April of 1964 Mario Savio filled out his application to participate in the Mississippi Summer Project. He was asked to "List your arrests." He wrote: "The Sheraton-Palace Hotel in San Francisco (a demonstration organized by the Ad Hoc Committee to End Discrimination). At about 4 a.m. on the morning of March 7, 1964; the police began making arrests after the demonstrators, lying down with arms linked, began blocking the exits of the hotel. We were charged with disturbing the peace. We have been booked and arraigned, and are presently out on bail awaiting trial. Our attorneys will probably enter a plea of not guilty."(1)

The demonstration at the Sheraton Palace was one of a series of actions that rocked the Bay Area from October of 1963 through the spring and summer of 1964. The demonstrators were drawn heavily from the students at Cal and S.F. State. Students and recent students were abundant among the roughly 500 arrested in a six months period. These demonstrations were highly publicized and much talked about. They broke the ground for the Free Speech Movement at U.C. Berkeley the following fall. They sensitized the students to civil rights and provided a model for action. They taught the students that sitting in was a logical response to injustice. They created a community of involved students, much larger than the small band of political activists only the year before. And they set the standards for commitment.

The Bay Area demonstrations were one consequence of the actions in Birmingham, Alabama that Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference had instigated in the Spring of 1963. After these, the civil rights movement moved north in a big way. During that year almost one thousand civil rights demonstrations occurred in at least 115 cities; more than twenty thousand people were arrested; ten persons were killed; there were 35 bombings. We learned of all this from the newspapers, TV and visits from participants. Author James Baldwin lectured to 9,000 students during the May Birmingham confrontations. James Farmer, National Director of CORE since 1961, addressed a thousand students the day classes began in the Fall of 1963 and another five thousand in San Francisco a few days later. Berkeley CORE revived that year and Campus CORE was founded in October of 1963.(2)


Campus and Berkeley CORE worked together to pressure local merchants to hire more Negroes. Documentation of discrimination had been established several years earlier. In 1960 the U.S. Civil Rights Commission held hearings in San Francisco on discrimination throughout the Bay Area. It included in the record a 1958 report on "Employment Opportunities for Members of Minority Groups in Berkeley" which found that "In grocery stores, for example, only 1.5 percent of a total of 269 employees observed working in a representative sample of 35 stores were Negro. Similarly, in 20 banks, the only Negro employee observed was 1 maintenance man. Only 2 Negroes were observed in sales positions in a representative sample of 24 department, variety, and specialty stores, although an occasional Negro was seen working as a porter, maid, dishwasher, or stock clerk." CORE went after the merchants on Telegraph and Shattuck Avenues, the two main commercial strips in Berkeley. Agreements were reached, then canceled, then reached again. Race and civil rights issues were on the front page of the Daily Cal three days out of five during the fall 1963 semester.(3)

The first big demonstration was at Mel's Drive In Restaurant, organized by a new group called the Ad Hoc Committee to End Discrimination. It was in fact organized by members of the DuBois Clubs, a youth group loosely, but not officially, associated with the Communist Party. DuBois Club members worked with Negro youth in San Francisco, and from them learned that they could eat at Mel's, but not work there. The first picket lines appeared in October. While Mel's had eateries on both sides of the Bay, its co-owner was Harold Dobbs, a San Francisco Supervisor who was running for Mayor. The climax came the weekend before the election. On Saturday, the Ad Hoc Committee picketed Dobbs' home. That night, and again on Sunday, the demonstrators held the first mass sit-in of the Bay Area civil rights movement. They occupied all the seats and refused to order. Over one hundred were arrested. When Dobbs lost the election many said the picketing was politically motivated, though the organizers denied this. Dobbs signed an employment agreement with the Ad Hoc Committee the next week to hire Negroes in "up front" positions.(4)

After Mel's, CORE took the lead by organizing a "shop-in" at Lucky's supermarkets. Lucky's was an old adversary, having been picketed successfully by CORE as long ago as 1948. CORE had negotiated another agreement the previous summer, but no additional jobs for Negroes appeared. In February 1964 CORE set-up picket lines at several markets. A week later it started the "shop-in". Although new to Berkeley students, it was a classic form of non-violent disruption; all the actions were legal but they significantly interfered with Lucky's ability to conduct business. Demonstrators went shopping, piling their carts with goods, and changed their minds at the check out counter. The cashiers were left with ringing cash registers and a counter full of unwanted goods. The managers had no way of separating the real shoppers from the ringers. And the real shoppers didn't want to stand in lines forever waiting for cash registers to be cleared and goods to be returned to the shelves. After a few days of this the new Mayor of San Francisco, John Shelly, negotiated an agreement in which the parent company promised to hire at least sixty Negroes and ended the shop-in. A few months later the Berkeley Lucky's closed forever.(5)

The week the Lucky's agreement was announced, a picket line appeared outside the Sheraton-Palace Hotel in San Francisco. The NAACP had been contemplating legal action against the hotel industry for some time because so many local Negroes had complained to it of discrimination. But after the successful Mel's action, demonstrations seemed a quicker route to jobs. The most logical targets for action were the three oldest and most elegant hotels in the City: the Sheraton, the Mark Hopkins and the Fairmont. If one of them agreed to hire more Negroes, the other hotels would follow. Of these, the Sheraton's location made it the easiest one to bring masses of demonstrators. At this time, the many civil rights groups worked closely together; their leaders knew each other through a variety of personal and political relationships. It was one of the few times in the history of the civil rights movement in which blacks and whites did walk "hand-in-hand." The Ad Hoc Committee wrote a letter to the Sheraton management asking for a racial breakdown of its employees. This led to two months of discussion. During this time a few Negroes were hired, but the Hotel Owners Association stepped in and effectively dared the civil rights organizations to do something. It obtained a court injunction limiting the number of pickets to a mere handful and slapped the Ad Hoc Committee and its' leaders with a $50,000 law suit.(6)

The lawsuit prompted the Ad Hoc Committee to raise the stakes. It asked supporters to come picket the Palace on February 29. The Ad Hoc Committee said that Sheraton-Palace employed only nineteen blacks, all in menial jobs, of a work staff totaling 550.(7) About 500 people came. After a couple hours of picketing, chanting and singing, several went inside. First they stood around without signs. Then other demonstrators brought their signs inside. Gradually getting bolder, the whole picket line went in, quietly, through the Market St. door and out the New Montgomery entrance, forming a circle in, out and around the Hotel. To this was added singing, chanting, and clapping hands. Toward the end of the afternoon the line walked in the Market St. door and instead of turning the corner toward New Montgomery kept walking along the corridor parallelling New Montgomery. This essentially moved the whole picket line inside the Hotel.

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Sheraton Palace Hotel sit-in March 7, 1964.

Photo: Phiz Mezey

Two hours later the court issued an injunction prohibiting picketing inside the hotel and limiting the number of pickets outside to nine. The monitors read the injunction to the demonstrators and asked them to leave and disperse, which they did. They next day they assembled again to picket outside the Hotel, in excess of the number allowed; 81 were arrested. Another demonstration was held late that night outside the Hall of Justice, from which several people marched over to the Sheraton-Palace to resume picketing. They were promptly arrested. This brought the total to 123. (The charges were later dropped as the injunction was declared to have been improper and invalid). Negotiations resumed that week in a heightened atmosphere of tension. On Thursday, March 5, the Sheraton-Palace Hotel hired its first Negro waitress, but refused to sign an agreement insuring that this was not just tokenism.

The Ad Hoc Committee spent the week leafleting the campuses, inviting students to come join the picket line on Friday, March 6. Thousands came from all over the Bay Area -- but mostly Cal and S.F. State -- to put their bodies on the line to show their commitment to civil rights. The usual procedure at Cal was to go to Stiles Hall, which was the YMCA building on Bancroft a couple blocks from Telegraph. Those with cars loaded them with people. A joint press conference in support of the demonstration was held by Dr. Thomas N. Burbridge, recently elected head of the San Francisco NAACP chapter, CORE head William Bradley, and the three leaders of the Ad Hoc Committee: Mike Myerson, Tracy Sims, and Roy Ballard. Myerson had graduated from Cal in 1961, where he had been chairman of the student group SLATE. Sims had graduated from Berkeley High School in 1963, and dropped out of S.F. State after one semester to become a full time civil rights activist. Ballard was in CORE. Myerson was the only white person in this leadership group, and he stayed behind the scenes. Sims was the primary spokesperson.(8)

The demonstration started quietly enough, around dinner time. As the night wore on we became louder and louder, singing freedom songs and chanting. Our numbers surged and then thinned to about 1,500 as picketers grew cold, tired and bored. Around 10:00 p.m. we moved inside. The hotel secured another injunction, but did not enforce it. Instead we were invited to "sleep-in" in the lobby. We sat down, occupying the entire lobby, except for a pathway left for hotel guests, police and other notables -- including ten African VIPs booked into the hotel by the State Department.(9) The leadership went upstairs to negotiate with the Hotel Owners Association. Negotiations dragged on while we were entertained by comedian Dick Gregory and led in songs by songwriter Malvina Reynolds. Thrice the leaders announced that agreement had been reached to hire more Negroes in 33 hotels. Thrice that turned out to be wrong; each time lawyers for the hotel owners said they could not sign because of some procedural problem. First they wanted the unions to agree; then other Negro leaders; finally they insisted that all 33 hotel owners had to be consulted.

Sometime between 3:00 and 4:00 a.m. we were instructed on how to be arrested. We were told that those willing to be arrested should cluster at the three main doors, while the rest should stay out of the way. Those under age 18 were asked not to be arrested, though no one checked IDs. In order to lengthen the process, we were told to link arms and legs until we were separated and to go limp so we would have to be carried out. This also made good camera copy for the TV stations and newspapers.

It was all very orderly. A large group sat down, linked themselves together and the police waded in and began tearing us apart. Line after line of protestors walked to the front, sat down and linked up. We could see the zeal on the faces of the cops as they pulled us apart. They could see the stubborn resistance on ours. Those who had chosen not to get arrested began to sing. After six arrests, Willie Brown made a speech in which he asked the demonstrators to leave the doorway and simply hold a sleep-in. The demonstrators did not move until the members of the Ad Hoc Committee had had a chance to vote on this proposal and cheered when it was voted down. After about 40 arrests, Tracy Sims announced that bail had been set at $600. She said that those who could not afford to remain in jail until Monday should hold a sleep-in, but asked as many as could to let themselves be arrested. This later turned out to be a false rumor circulated by the police to scare us into leaving.(10)

During the night 167 of us were arrested and charged with disturbing the peace while another few hundred stayed and continued to picket. Leaders in the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union (ILWU) phoned Mayor Shelly, who had enjoyed major union support for his recent election, and urged him to resolve the conflict. Several children of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's leadership were in the Sheraton demonstrations, and many Negroes were among its members. The Mayor called all parties into his office and kept them there until they signed an agreement. It required affirmation of a nondiscrimination policy by 33 hotels, regular "statistical analysis" of job categories, a goal of 15 to 20 percent minority employees, inspections to determine compliance, and amnesty. It was signed by Myerson, Sims, and Ballard, a lawyer for the Hotel Owners Association, and was "endorsed, ratified and approved" by four Negro leaders in San Francisco. We cheered and sang after the agreement was read to us. Dick Gregory asked us to clean up the debris in the lobby. We did so, and left.(11)

The names, addresses, occupations and ages of those arrested were published in the newspaper and tell something about who we were. Men significantly outnumbered women among the arrestees. There were 127 men, 34 women and six juveniles (four boys, two girls). The Chronicle reported that eight arrestees were Negro, half the demonstrators were women and sixty percent were white. I estimated that 70 to 80 percent were white, but didn't do a sex count of the demonstrators. I did analyze the arrestees by age and occupation. They seemed slightly younger than the demonstrators. Two-thirds of the men and three-fourths of the women were between the ages of 18 and 23; 93 men and 22 women said they were students. Of the rest, a handful of the men said they were laborers, clerks or unemployed. Most of the remaining women were clerks or secretaries. There were very few professional workers (teachers, attorneys). The Berkeley Daily Gazette identified 78 local residents.(12)

We were denounced by almost everyone in authority. Governor Pat Brown said we endangered people's lives by blocking entrances at the Palace, set back the civil rights cause, and made it more difficult to defeat Proposition 14 which would be on the ballot that fall (and would void the Fair Housing Act). On March 12, prominent churchmen issued a statement saying that "The hope that these tactics have produced a victory for the Negro is a dangerous illusion." Our elders came up with a litany of reasons to discredit us, the most frequent of which was that the demonstrators were mostly white, even though the leaders and spokespeople were Negro. The clergymen said "To the credit of our Negro fellow citizens, let it be noted that their part in these unfortunate events has been minimal." Examiner columnist Charles Denton asked how "do responsible Negro leaders really expect to be taken seriously when they allow themselves to be represented in their struggle by an 18 year old girl in the full flush of adolescent arrogance, some students who figure getting their heads cracked is easier than cracking a book and a few retired beatniks who think anything at all beats working?" And of course the DuBois Club connection with the Ad Hoc Committee exposed us to redbaiting. All the daily newspapers denounced our outrageous tactics, including the student newspapers at Cal and S.F. State. Our only press support came from two Chronicle columnists: Herb Caen and Arthur Hoppe. Hoppe normally wrote in a humorous vein, but he was quite serious when he compared us favorably with the "firebrands" of the Boston Tea Party. "[O]ne's man's heroes are another man's bums," he wrote. "I just depends on which side you're on."(13)

Demonstrations continued throughout the spring. The next target were the car dealerships on Auto Row. On March 14, 107 people were arrested in front of the Cadillac agency, including 20 Cal students and/or Berkeley residents. The Mayor negotiated a moratorium on civil disobedience, while picketing continued.14 The dealers published their own "Declaration of Policy" emphasizing that they were already equal opportunity employers. The NAACP asked the Auto Dealers to agree to a goal of "16 to 30 percent employment of minority group persons in future job turnover openings."(15) When they didn't do so, demonstrations were called for April 11. This time 226 were arrested. Mario was not among them, though I was. Based on information published about arrestees, and observations by myself and others, the Auto Row sit-ins had more adults and fewer students than those at the Palace and many more Negroes. While the papers described the pickets as "predominantly white", we thought whites were only fifty percent. More Negroes were arrested, though I don't have an exact count. Sixty percent of the arrestees gave their occupation as student, though those listed as "teacher" were probably graduate student T.A.s. As before, laborers, clerks, secretaries, printers, and unemployed were the only other occupations listed by more than one or two people. Only 65 percent were between the ages of 18 and 23.(16)


Civil Rights protestors picket Cadillac dealers along Van Ness Avenue's auto row in the early 1960s, opposing the widespread racial discrimination in showroom employment patterns.

Photo: San Francisco Historical Society, San Francisco, CA

Once more we were condemned. Once more the demonstrations had their intended effect. The pickets continued. On April 13 the national NAACP announced it would hold demonstrations against auto dealers in fifty cities, beginning on May 4 with a protest at GM headquarters in Detroit. The Lincoln-Mercury dealer who had received the worst of the April 11 sit-in settled on April 17. That same day Bill Bradley promised 2,000 demonstrators on Saturday and possibly "creative destruction." With thousands of people massed on Auto Row ready to go in again, a sit-in was avoided at the last minute when both sides made pledges to the Mayor's Interim Committee on Human Relations, created because neither side would negotiate with the other. The NAACP got the promises it wanted, and the auto dealers got peace.(17)

Other employers were also under investigation and on the agendas of different civil rights organizations. CORE was looking into the Bank of America, which had 29,000 employees in California. CORE had found that minorities were only 2.4 percent of it's employees and Negroes only 1.9 percent, with none in executive positions. Of course B of A disagreed, but the Bank's general counsel said "we are always ready at any time to sit down and discuss the problems with responsible representatives of any minority group." CORE began picketing the Bank of America around the end of May but there were rarely more than 30 to 50 people on the line. CORE could only hit a few branches at a time. In June, CORE began a version of the shop-in. While insisting that its hiring of minorities was ongoing and laudable, B of A signed an agreement with the California Fair Employment Practices Commission under which it would provide regular reports of its recruitment activities and success rates. CORE wasn't mentioned and the Bank's general counsel said he didn't care if CORE approved. In late summer Bill Bradley announced the B of A action was suspended; nearly 240 Negroes had been hired in white collar jobs between May and July.(18)

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Civil rights demonstrators at Market near Mason Street, July 12, 1964.

Photo: wnp28.2290

This was the end of the big civil rights demonstrations, in part because employers were more willing to sign agreements, and in part because the civil rights organizations had exhausted their human resources. In April, the City of San Francisco put us on trial, in groups of ten to 15. The trials went on for four months, taking up a lot of our time, as well as that of our volunteer lawyers and other supporters. The outcomes varied widely. Mario's trial group was acquitted, as was mine, but both of us spent weeks in court. Many others were convicted, receiving sentences of both fines and jail time. Tracy Sims served sixty days. Dr. Burbridge was sentenced to nine months. The Ad Hoc Committee continued to demonstrate, but shifted to Oakland where it picketed the Oakland Tribune and the restaurants around Jack London Square, until it fell apart from exhaustion and internal acrimony in the fall of 1964. Even as it did so, the Free Speech Movement was motivating thousands of students to protest university rules on political activity.(19)

Mario Savio exemplified the straight line many students walked from the civil rights movement to the Free Speech Movement. In the fall of 1963, he was a newcomer to Berkeley and to the civil rights movement, but not to social justice. Mario was raised in New York City, in the borough of Queens, by a devoutly Catholic Italian family. Deeply religious, he served his Church as an altar boy and might well have become a priest. However, after a year at a Catholic College in Manhattan, he lost his faith in the Church, or more accurately, he transferred it to a more abstract sense of social justice. "Resist evil" was the message he had received from his family. If you see an injustice, it is your obligation to remove it. He spent the next year at Queens College, part of the City University system, and in the summer of 1963 went to Mexico as one member of a work project arranged by the Newman Club. In Mexico he saw abject poverty, and experienced the barriers raised by government officials to their efforts to build a public facility for people to wash their clothes.

While Mario was in Mexico his parents moved to Southern California. In the fall of 1963 he became a student at U.C. Berkeley and moved into a boarding house on Hearst St. Later that fall he began going to meetings of Friends of SNCC — a group founded by former SLATE chairman Mike Miller. Mario's particular interest in civil rights came from his mother, who had taught him that there was no valid reason for discrimination. During World War II she had worked in a dime store where she found out that a Negro friend and fellow worker was getting three cents less an hour than she was. Her boss told her he paid the woman less because Negroes got less, but agreed to pay equal rates after Dora Savio threatened to demonstrate.

With this background, when Mario saw pickets around Mel's Drive In while walking down the street one day, he felt a solidarity with the civil rights movement and joined the line. But he was not ready to be an activist and only picketed a couple times. Most of his extra-curricular time was spent as a tutor for Negro Jr. High and High School students in Berkeley. The tutorial project was using a room provided by a Berkeley women's group. Some of the tutors were also involved in CORE. After CORE began picketing the Berkeley merchants, the women's group asked them to leave. In the spring Mario joined SLATE, though he was not particularly active in it.

Mario found himself at the Sheraton Palace on March 6 by the same route as most of the Berkeley students: he was handed a leaflet at Bancroft and Telegraph. That T-shaped intersection was the central point for political activity at Berkeley. In 1964, student political groups were not allowed on campus except for limited intellectual purposes. They could not hold regular meetings, advocate political action, collect money or solicit members. They could put up posters at eight specific locations advertising their off campus meetings. And they could invite speakers to address the university community, provided space was reserved and a faculty member agreed to preside at least three days in advance. The latter privilege was a recent one; only a year before the university had finally abolished its "Communist speaker ban" which permitted the Administration to veto any possible speaker it deemed too controversial, even if not a Communist.

At Bancroft and Telegraph several pillars marked the entrance to the University. Between these and the public street there was a 26 foot space which was technically University property, but which was treated as though it belonged to the City of Berkeley. The student groups which weren't allowed on campus put up their tables, passed out leaflets and solicited money from this space. In September of 1964, the campus administration decided to reclaim it as part of the university, subject to its rules and hence to its provision prohibiting all political groups. It was the decision to take away this "political space" which sparked the free speech movement.

Why the Administration chose this moment to reclaim that 26 feet of space is unsettled to this day, but we all thought it was an attempt to curb the civil rights movement. This was the spot from which we solicited students to participate in civil rights demonstrations, to picket, to disrupt business, and to break the law. Without this spot, we could still function, but not easily. Whether we could ask students to engage in illegal action from what was technically university property was the sticking point in the negotiations with the administration throughout the fall of 1964. We did not know the Bay Area civil rights movement was over; we thought we would need this space to solicit students for future off-campus demonstrations.

By the time the Administration handed down its edict, Mario had gone from a cautious, inquisitive dogooder, who thought the Lucky Market shop-ins lacked "self-restraint and dignity" and the CORE campaign against the Berkeley merchants was "a little bit too outlandish", to a self-confident activist who thought that several thousand students sitting around a police car, inside of which was his friend Jack Weinberg, was "very beautiful and very wholesome." He had gone from a shy stutterer, who did not impress the person who interviewed him for Mississippi Summer, to an inspired leader, who galvanized others to action by speaking what was in their hearts. What transformed him was the time he spent in Mississippi helping local Negroes to register to vote during the summer of 1964. He learned about the Mississippi Summer Project, and decided to go, while sitting in jail after being arrested at the Sheraton Palace.

When Mario went to the Palace, he did not intend to spend the night there, let alone several hours in jail. In fact, he had been at a "Welcome to Spring" party with his girlfriend and her roommates on Friday afternoon. Someone brought up the demonstration scheduled for that evening, and several of them decided to go. They went to Stiles Hall and jumped into one of the many cars taking students across the Bay. After Tracy Sims asked the demonstrators to submit to arrest, Mario walked around for a while, trying to decide what to do. He watched others sit down and be arrested, with some anxiety and some curiosity. And then he sat down himself. In his mind this was something of an initiation rite. In the act of letting himself be arrested he had crossed an invisible line, a line which somehow made him a different person, one with an obligation to act on his beliefs beyond what he had felt before. When he got out of the San Francisco City jail a few hours later, Mario was a committed political activist. And when he returned from Mississippi in late August he was more than committed, he was a political missionary.

On Wednesday, September 16, Mario went to a meeting of campus CORE. Everyone was talking about a letter from the Dean of Students, Katherine Towle, that had been sent to all the student political organizations. It announced that after September 21 university rules would be "strictly enforced" on "the 26 foot strip of brick walkway at the campus entrance ... between the concrete posts and the indented copper plaques.... University facilities may not, of course, be used to support or advocate off-campus political or social action."(20)

Mario thought this ruling was "totally absurd", "maybe ... a mistake." He was one of several people from the student political organizations who met with Dean Towle the following day to negotiate the matter. But Towle could not negotiate. She lacked the power. She had not made the decision, she could not change it. We could not talk with whomever had made it, indeed we were not even told who had made it or why. Mario immediately connected the ruling with his own experiences of the past few months. Without that 26 feet of political space he might not have known about the Palace demonstration, might not have been arrested, might not have gone to Mississippi, might not be the committed, political activist he was becoming. "It seemed fantastic that the University would presume to cut this off", he said later; "one of the main outlets in the free part of the country... for information, [or] recruiting."

The world of the university in September 1964 was not the same as it had been a year previously. The civil rights movement had expanded our consciousness and our commitment. Probably in 1963, and certainly in 1962, we would have accepted with resignation what the university bureaucrats decreed, knowing that we lacked the power to do otherwise. But by September of 1964 the Bay Area civil rights movement had transformed a critical mass of the student body into a community of concern. Thus, when the campus police arrested Jack Weinberg, who was no longer a student, for sitting at a CORE table illegally put in front of Sproul Hall, the Berkeley students did not need anyone to tell them what to do. They spontaneously surrounded the police car in which he was placed. A little over two weeks after the discouraging meeting with the Dean of Students, ten of us were sitting in the conference room of the President of the entire University system, negotiating with Clark Kerr the fate of several thousand students holding the police car hostage. Two-thirds of the student negotiators had been arrested in the civil rights demonstrations of the previous Spring.(21)


A note on sources: I was an undergraduate at Berkeley in 1961-1965 and a participant in most of the events I recount. Some of these events I described in a term paper written in the Spring of 1964 from which I have borrowed freely. I only knew Mario slightly in 1963-64. The information about him comes from research done in 1997, including interviews with friends and family and reading transcripts of interviews he did with the Columbia Oral History Research Center on March 5, 1985, and with Max Heirich on June 9, 1965. All the quotes from Mario, except the Mississippi Summer application, are from the Heirich interview.

1. The applications are in the King Center in Atlanta, Georgia. I would like to thank Doug McAdam for sending me a copy from his files.

2. "Overflow Crowd Hears Baldwin on Race Issues", Daily Cal, May 8, 1963; Sept. 17, 1963; Heirich 1971, 85-6. Rossman, 1971, 88.

3. U.S. Civil Rights Commission, 1960, 610, excerpting the progress report, November 1958, of the Berkeley Study Committee on Equal Employment Opportunities, "Employment Opportunities for Members of Minority Groups in Berkeley". Heirich, 1965, 31; 1971, 86.

4. Heirich, 1965, 31; 1971, 86. Barlow and Shapiro, 1971, 44. Meier and Rudwick, 1973, 251, 254, 308. Myerson, 1970, 111-113. San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 4, 1963. San Francisco Examiner, Nov. 4, 1963. Daily Californian, Nov. 5, 8, 11, 1963. The press noted that the home of his co-owner, Mel Weiss, was not picketed. Myerson, an organizer of the Mel's demonstration, denied any political motivation and said that he was told the demonstrations would create sympathy for Dobbs; Myerson interview, Jan. 14, 1997.

5. Heirich, 1965, 31; Goines, 1993, 85; Meier and Rudwick, 1973, 59, 235-6, 255; Rorabaugh, p. 128-9.

6. Myerson, interview, April 11, 1997; Myerson, 1970, 113-5; Heirich, 1965, 31-32. San Francisco Chronicle, March 2, 1964. San Francisco Examiner, March 2, 1964. Daily Californian, March 2, 1964. Golden Gater, March 3, 1964.

7 Myerson, 1970, 113-4. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that "A Palace Hotel spokesman later reiterated its claim ... that 25 percent of its employees are of minority groups. They are, the spokesman said, Negroes and Chinese." San Francisco Chronicle, March 7, 1964, p. 7:3.

8. San Francisco Chronicle, March 7, 1964, p. 7:5-6.

9. "Visiting Africans Puzzled", San Francisco News Call Bulletin, March 7, 1964, p. 3:1.

10. San Francisco Chronicle, March 7 and 8, 1964; San Francisco Examiner, March 7 and 8, 1964. San Francisco News Call-Bulletin, March 7 and 8, 1964; Berkeley Daily Gazette, March 7, 1964; Daily Californian, March 9, 1964; Golden Gator, March 9, 1964. Willie Brown and Terry Francois were the lawyers for the Ad Hoc Committee. Both urged us to "sleep in" rather than go to jail. Brown was elected Mayor of San Francisco in 1995 after serving for many years as Speaker of the California Assembly.

11. San Francisco Chronicle, March 8, 1964, p. 1, 1C. Myerson credits Dick Lynden, head of International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union Local 6, for bringing about the final agreement, and for drafting its language. He said that union leaders' children were also active in the DuBois Clubs, creating a network of familiarity among the Mayor, the unions and the protestors; interview of April 11, 1997.

12. Appendix A of my term paper. Also San Francisco Chronicle, March 7 1964, p. 1A; March 8, 1964, p. 7. On March 9, 1964, p. 18, in an article on repercussions from the demonstrations, the Chronicle said that "fewer than 20 percent of [the demonstrators] were Negroes". Berkeley Daily Gazette, March 9, 1964, p. 1:4. On March 10, the Chronicle revised its figures to 171 arrested, including six juveniles, "only four Negroes among the adults"; p. 14:2. I know there were two Negro women arrested because we were jailed together and was told there were ten Negroes among the men. I estimated that "there were four times as many Negroes in the demonstration than among those arrested." From the names, I also recognized that "The non-student categories includes at least four CORE employees. About half of the rest of the non-student categories I know to be former students who have graduated or dropped out."

13. "Brown Hits The Sit-In At Palace" San Francisco Chronicle, March 11, 1964, p. 1. "Brown and Pickets", S.F. Examiner, March 11, 1964. "Churchmen Rap Pickets", S.F. Examiner, March 13, 1964, p. 7:5. "Top Clergymen Join Criticism of Palace sit-In.", San Francisco Chronicle, March 13, 1964, p. 1. Columnist Charles Denton, "A Little Child Leads Them, But Where?" San Francisco Examiner, March ??, 1964. Ed Montgomery, "Who is Running the Rights Sit-Ins: How Many are Radicals? A Look at the Records", S.F. Examiner, March 16, 1964, p. 1, 9. "The Marxist Influence" editorial in the S.F. Examiner, March ??, 1964. Editorial, Daily Californian, March 10, 1964. Editorial, "The Wrong Way To Civil Rights", San Francisco Chronicle, March 12, 1964. There were some supporters in the establishment. "9 Pastors Defend Pickets", S.F. Examiner, March 17, 1964, p. 16:5. Arthur Hoppe, "Protest Is A Bum Deal", San Francisco Chronicle, March 8, 1964.

14. Daily Cal, March 16, 1964. p. 1:5.

15. News Call-Bulletin, April 11, 1964. See also: "What's Behind the Sit-Ins: When Mediation Broke Down", S.F. Examiner, April 12, 1964, p. B:6.

16. Data come from newspaper listings of arrestees; calculations from Appendix B of the term paper. S.F. Examiner, April 12, 1964.

17. "S.F. Judge Calls Sit-Ins 'Criminal'", San Francisco Chronicle, June 2, 1964, p. 1. "Bishop Pike Condemns S.F. Sit-Ins", S.F. Examiner, April 14, 1964. "Auto Sit-Ins To Continue Across U.S.", San Francisco Chronicle, April 13, 1964. "Auto Row Picketing On Again", S.F. Examiner, April 13, 1964. "Pact is 'Near' in Auto Row Dispute: Picketing Threatened Today", San Francisco Chronicle, April 18, 1964, p. 1:8. "2,000 May Join Auto Sit-In Today: Mediation Fails", S.F. Examiner, April 18, 1964, p. 1:7. "Auto Row Pact Called Landmark", San Francisco Chronicle, April 21, 1964.

18. San Francisco Chronicle, March 13, 1964, p. 10:2,3. "CORE Will Picket Bank Tomorrow", San Francisco Chronicle, May 21, 1964, p. 1, 16. Meier and Rudwick, 1973, 238. Writing in Sept. 1964, Jack Weinberg said that CORE demonstrations in Berkeley had "several hundred participants", and that "B of A has hired over 450 minority persons in California in one month"; "Campus CORE Summer Activities", The Campus CORE-lator, Sept. 1964, p. 35. I don't remember any big demonstrations in Berkeley, but I wasn't there all summer. "CORE Asks City, State to Mediate", S.F. Examiner, May 21, 1964, p. 1, 16. "Bank Signs FEPC Pact: New Tactics by Pickets", San Francisco Chronicle, June 2, 1964, p. 1:5,8.

19. "Palace Sit-ins Guilty", S.F. Examiner, April 22, 1964, pp. 1, 13. "Tracy Sims Guilty", and editorial, "The Singling Out of Tracy Sims", S.F. Examiner, May 1, 1964, p. 1, 10. "Tracy Sims Convicted", San Francisco Chronicle, May 1, 1964, pp. 1, 15. Mine and Mario's acquittals are reported in S.F. Examiner, May 13, 1964, p. 1, 10. "Fines, Jail for Palace Sit-ins", S.F. Examiner, June 9, 1964.

20. Letter reprinted in Heirich, 1971, 102-3.

21. Comparing the nine signatories to the October 2, 1964 agreement with the list of arrestees in the Spring demonstrations shows that all but Eric Levine and Paul Cahill had been arrested at least once. Jack Weinberg, the man in the police car, was arrested three times. The tenth student present, Danny Rosenthal of Students for Goldwater, was not part of the negotiating group and did not sign the agreement.

Paper given at special panel commemorating Mario Savio at the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians, held April 19, 1997, in San Francisco. A shorter version was published in The Berkeley Free Speech Movement: Reflections on a Campus Rebellion, edited by Robert Cohen and Reginald E. Zelnik (University of California Press, 2002).

Readers might also be interested in Jo Freeman's memoir, At Berkeley in the Sixties