Roger Riordan: Visit to Berkeley 1964-65

The day I arrived at Berkeley one of the staff took me for a walk at lunchtime. At Sproul Plaza, in front of Sather Gate, he told me "we are very proud of this - the students can set up tables and talk about anything they like. It's rather like Hyde Park in London." A few days later the administration announced that owing to congestion in Sather Gate the students were no longer to be allowed to set up tables.

This was the start of the Free Speech Movement, which was to have profound effects on the University, and on the history of the United States and of the world. Both State & Federal elections were held in 1964 and a retired two bit film actor, name of Ronald Reagan, riding on the coat tails of conservative Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, stood for Governor of California.

Fortunately neither won, but Reagan was elected at the next election in 1967, in part because he was able to exploit right wing disquiet at the attitudes of the students in the Free Speech Movement, and subsequently went on to become President of the United States from 1980 to 1989.


Protest rally 2.

Protest rally 4.

Picket line 2.

Picket line 6.

Protest rally 1.

Protest rally 3.

Police picket line

Picket line 3.

Get the hell out of it!

 © Roger Riordan 2004-2019