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tv   1968 San Francisco State College Student Strike  CSPAN  October 14, 2018 2:29pm-4:01pm EDT

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d. he wanted to be there in time. he got there, a couple days before she gave birth to the final baby, and she died in childbirth. he died a month later. some say of a broken heart but really it was the aneurysm that burst. that is the end of the story. he was true to josefa. by all accounts, was a loyal and true husband, but was hardly ever there except in the very last years of his life. they are buried together in kit carson park, which may be renamed. that is sort of the end of the story. that is the saga of "blood and thunder" and kit carson. thanks so much for listening tonight. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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>> the administration and course curriculum. he discusses how catholic priests led by bishop mark j. hour leehurley joined the student's effort to settle the strike in 1969. >> it is my pleasure to introduce our speaker today. bill issel.
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he served a as fullbright in england, hungarian romania. in 2015-2016 he was distinguished chair in history. bill is especially interested in the role of religion in american and european politics and the social and cultural history of american in european cities. it's 1986 book, san francisco miss, power and urban development" was hailed a major achievement that set the agenda for studying san francisco politics. his recents books for crossing flag and church and state in the city, have been praised as
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illuminateing. in 2017, he received the distinguish scholarship award of the american catholic historical association. bill lecture today is drawn from his 2015 prize-winning american catholic studies article and is part of a larger project of book on the competition between the catholic church and the communist party in european and american cities from the russian revolution to the fall of the berlin wall. let's have a nice welcome for bill issel. [applause] >> thank you very much, chris for that very nice welcome. i'm very pleased to also thank several of my colleagues and friends in the audience who for the last decades have inspired and supported my research and
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i'm very proud to be part of the network of scholars. thank you to the university of san francisco as well and the san francisco museum and historical society for the invitation. one of kevin's gifts to us was to help spread the word about how contests over competing visions helped shape the california dream. kevin also helped spread the word about how california contest have sometimes been directly and explicitly inspired by international events and transnational visions. i like to honor kevin's memory
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here today by taking another look at just such a contest. the black valor, black nationalism inspired strike at san francisco state college in 1968 and 1969. during the late 1960's, many advocates of black power rejected american liberalism and adopted the fighting words of a transnational event. the anti-colonial movement in africa asia and latin-america. they declared the necessity of a black revolution in the third world revolution by any means necessary. including gorilla war and the power in black and third world communities. this state of war would continue
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until they are nonnegotiable demands, first and foremost determination of african-american in third world communities were met. the white power structure surrendered what today is called white privilege. my purpose today is to show how another set of words words of dignity, respect recognition and reconciliation brought the strike to an end with measurable gains to the student strikers. these were the words of mark j. hurley. in south africa catholic bishop inspired by another transnational event. the second vatican in rome, 1962
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to 1965. hurley helped reduce violence during the strike. it was 134 days the longest in u.s. history. he also broker a settlement of the strike. he based the settlement on a principle that have been recently reintegrated by dr. martin luther king jr. and by pope paul vi. king in his 1963 letter from the birmingham jail and the pope in his 1967 his 1963 letter of the development of peoples. but was the principle? peace is not just the absence of violence warfare or tension.
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it is instead, the day-to-day practice by all of us of making sure justice is available to all of us. let's look at bishop hurley and catholics san francisco. minimizing violence on campus and brokering the settlement came to him by virtue of his being an insider in what was then the longer a varying catholic san francisco. he was born in 1919. born in massachusetts to immigrant parents and a mother born in ireland. mark's brother, also entered -- eventually became archbishop of anchorage, alaska.
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the hurley family worshiped at st. agnus. then he attended st. joseph college, st. patrick college and then st. patrick seminary. he was ordained in 1944, spent an academic year at berkeley studying educational theory and administration. also the assistant superintendent of schools for the archdiocese. then hurley moved across the country to the catholic university of san francisco in washington d.c. his ph.d. came in 1947 and two years later catholic university published his -- in state of california. hurley was one of the brightest stars in a constellation of
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young priests, hand-picked by archbishop john j. mitty for leadership roles. this was a time when others wrote, st. san francisco archdioceses send more graduate students to the catholic university than any other dioceses in the nation. one of archbishop many catholic action initiatives was the education of postlat. hurley took a leading role beginning in 1944. in addition to a year as a teacher at sarah high school, san mateo, hurley served seven years as founding principal of the bishop odowel high school. and then two years as founding
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principal of corrine catholic. in 1962, the year he was named senior by pope john xxiii hurley became expert through the vatican serving on the commissions on seminaries universities and schools until the end of the coups in 1965 and then became assistant chancellor and general with the archdioceses from 1961 to 1967 when he was in town. hurley participated and episcopal in a popular local tv show. early became known as the young
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-- for what one his fans called his whit, brilliance and striking appearance. hurley himself posted that his january 1968 consecration as auksauxiliary bishop marked the equal rank with the catholic and such an event. earlyhurley interpreted this as part of the new humanism stirred in the catholic church by the vatican counsel. one of the country's leading labor priest then director of the social action department of the u.s. catholic counsel preached the sermon at hurley's
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first pontifical mass. hurley was part of a larger network that included most religious activeist who's work from the 1930's through 1960's imparted catholic through san francisco political culture. he oversaw catholic action training for priests at st. patrick seminary.
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senior bernard served as catholic and was director of the archdiocese on reassessment of refugees after world war ii. several religious activists part of this network also played meaning roles in racial justice reforms in the 1950's. mayor christopher, for instance appointed terry francois a black catholic civil rights activist and john f. kenning, white catholic labor activist to the city's first equal opportunity commission in the year 1957. seven years later, mayor jack
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shelley who was himself a stalwart member of the catholic action appointed sister maureen kelly to the new human rights commission. after she left, shelley replaced her with sister bern net childs who served 16 years on the commission. she was a long time participant in archdiocese many catholic action initiatives. they both remained active as mayors in advancing the agenda of the catholic action program. they maintained working relationships with many
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successors archdiocese joseph. when the students strike at san francisco state that lasted three weeks and was becoming more and more marked by. the mayor turned to the church and to the labor movement for help. george john executive secretary of the san francisco labor counsel, who was also a member of the advisory committee for robert smith the college president, urged her to appoint a blue ribbon committee. they would serve as mediator, create a resolution acceptable to all sides and bring back order and civility to the college. when she asked the archdiocese
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to help him choose committee members, he delegated bishop hurley and hurley was selected chairman at the first meeting of this citizens committee of concern. joining her later on the committee were numerous liberal democrats, some catholic and some non-catholic. but most of them had supported jack shelley during his mayoral term and backed her during his first campaign in the summer and fall of 1967. the most active members of the committee had previously worked with the archdiocesian, activist in the establishment of both mayor christophers equal employment opportunity commission and the human rights
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commission. they also worked on the successful campaign to declare unconstitutional proposition 14. the successful ballot measure that would have nullified california's fair housing act of 1963. this group included catholics such as neil mccarthy, then a member of the board of directors and joseph, president the labor counsel as well as non-catholics presiding rabbi and emmanuel and william becker of the jewish labor committee and human rights commission. soon, hurley and becker served as committee's executive
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secretary were putting in 14-hour days working behind the scenes to mediate between the imperial and self-righteous college president, that's an objective statement. and black student communities and third world liberation and leaders. in his first public statement as chairman, hurley took issue with media accounts of the strike and of the committee. he pointed out to the public that although the committee have been characterized as bunch of empty suits during the bidding, committee in fact, planned to work differently independently
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working for a settlement that would combine peace with justice. this approach at first suggested by father peter salmon, chaplain of san francisco state college newman center. salmon criticized media commentary that was condemned the strikers as a bunch of outside agitators influenced by communism. in fact, salmon wrote, strikers were expressing genuine and long-standing grievances concerns that needed to be addressed ending racial
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discrimination in both admissions, policy and personnel matters. creating courses and programs that were not only of interest but served the actual means of underrepresented non-white students. one of the mentions of father salmon, there needed to be fair play in the case of a graduate student instructor, a 23-year-old black graduate student named george murray. before we go back to the details of the strike, we need to say a word about black power and 1968 1967 and 1968. george murray's case was
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inseparable from the story of how the black power movement became more complex in those two years. george murray was a 23-year-old graduate student part time instructor in an experimental special admissions equal opportunity english course. he was also a member of the black student union. murray was also education minister of the black panther party for self-defense. murray was one of black student union, activityist inspired by james p. jimmy. a veteran of the southern black freedom struggle who moved san francisco and enromed in san francisco state to organize a
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black power presence and a mayor in u.s. college. on november 6, 1967, garrett murray and several other black student unions, bsu members who were offended by an editorial in the student newspaper assaulted the white editor of the newspaper in the newspaper office. as a result, they were suspended but their suspensions were later lifted by the then college president john summerskill. murray was arrested for the assault. pled no contest. was convicted and sentenced to a
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six-month jail term. then sentence was suspended and he was given probation. murray's case and that of the others arrested for the assault became the subject of student demonstrations on campus in november and december 1967. in february 1968, president summerskill submitted his resignation to be effective in september. from march through may 1968, the bsu, students from the democratic society and progressive labor period activist carried out campus demonstrations and sit-ins to end the college air force rotc
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program type increase number of students enrolled in the special admissions program. they called for an increase in a number of black, latino, asian-american and native americans instructors and students. they also called for support in the cases of several temporary instructors who claimed they have not been rehired because of racial discrimination. state college trustees responded to these televised disruptive events by demanding that summerskill's resignation take effect may 24th, not beginning of september. june 1st they appointed robert smith in summerskill's place. george murray taught in the
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spring semester and was rehired to teach in the fall 1968. in august 1968, murray represented the black panther party at the conference of the organization of solidarity with the people of asia, africa and latin america. this conference was held in cuba. murray condensed u.s. intervention in vietnam declaring, every time an american mercenary is shot over there, that's when they will be killing us here in the u.s. after he returned to the bay area murray published a
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manifesto in the black panther party newspaper. titled "for a revolutionary culture." the aerial was filled with positive references to revolutionary nationalists terrorism in africa, asia and the middle east. murray argued that those activities aren't to serve as a podly for black revolutionary power in the u.s. must show piles of dead businessmen, bankers lawyers senators congressmen burning up inside their stores being blown up in cafes, restaurants and night clubs. black men, black people colored
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prisoners of america arm yourselves, use the gun kill the pig everywhere. in his speech, shortly afterwards at fresno state murray explained when he called the necessity of a black revolution. he began by inserting that it is a simple fact that black people of 20th century slaves, lyndon bayne johnson is a racist cracker punk. only way to become free is to kill all the slave masters. murray continued this rhetoric after the st. college trustees ruled his courses were unacceptable for anyone employed in the state college as an instructor.
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they recommended that he should be suspended from teaching september 26 1968. a month later on october 28th, first anniversary of the black panther party leader huey newton's arrest murray led a bsu demonstration on campus in support of black power during which they led supporters in chants of free huey. two days later the chancellor issued president an order to suspend murray to take effect the first of november. murray and the bsu had previously threatened a strike
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if he was removed from his teaching post. now the bsu announced that a strike would begin on november 6th. the anniversary of the bsu assault on the white editor of the campus newspaper, the gator. now back to the strike. third world liberation joined the black students union and organizations pledged themselves to remain on strike until the college met their combined 15 demands. more black and ethnic study classes, instructors, more special admissions student reinstatement of george murray and several other ethnic studies
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instructors and there will be no disciplinary action against any striking student staff or faculty. murray immediately became a -- [indiscernible] regarding the trustees an the chancellor's action as violation of teacher's first amendment rights and a violation of a college's ability to oversee and control its own internal affair affairs. president smith own sympathy with murray was evident in his comment that murray, i'm quoting him, he's only 23, son of a minister, on a trip of race pressures. murray was the son of a minister
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and he would later make a career serving the spiritual needs of his low income oakland congregation. but robert smith suggestion that murray was on a bad trip, implied that murray was being acted upon by a toxic substance of some sort that he was a victim of unintended consequences. when in fact, murray and thousands of young black and white, men and women in 1967 and 1968 deliberately opted out of non-violent civil rights work in favor of insurrection, in favor
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of black power and third world power action. this has begun happening soon after the assassination of malcolm x in february 1965. the murder of dr. king on april 4, 1968 accelerated the process and across the country thousands if not tens of thousands young men and women decided a revolutionary situation existed and they decided to seek out opportunities to conduct an armed rebellion using malcolm x's unique words any means necessary. against what they regarded a murderous genocidal imperialist
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white america. well, by the end of the first week of the strike sort of call in response dynamic, i like to call it, had become established at midday on the campus with demonstrators and provocateurs by the dozens, challenging and taunting the san francisco police department tactical squad, officers that were stationed in the interior of the campus. after marching turned into the throwing of rocks, bricks and other objects, police caught some times beat and arrested selective students in response. in addition, bands of blacks and
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white and other strikers descended on selected classrooms where instructors were teaching despite the strike. the classroom visitors intimidated the professors and students berated them and claimed they were crob -- [indiscernible] with the operators -- november 13th, the title bloody wincing. which for those readers who have been there or to have heard the stories evoked memories of the bloody thursday on july 5, 1934
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during the strike when san francisco police officer shot and killed two men. convinced by the events of the day that the campus could not operate until the strike was settled, president smith ordered the college closed, despite governor reagan's displeasure and the trustees to reopen five day it's later. smith reopened the campus for departmental discussions and a university convocation. but on november 26th smith resigned an english professor was named acting president. it was to close the campus again. when he reopened it on december 2nd striking students marked a truck with a loud speak artery the main
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entrance. the new president received positive some negative mostly positive nationwide publicity when television cameras showed him climbing on to the truck and pulling out the wires that connected the microphone to the loud speaker. the next day bloody tuesday began with more conflict, including angry speeches by an increasingly confident strike leadership strikers were boyed up by the visit and speaks of several bus-loads of pro strike bay area black community leaders
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and public officials. you'll recognize congressman there and you'll recognize dr. carlton goodlatte in the other picture along with one of the striking student leaders randall ridges. the spirit of revolt ran so high among the bsu and leaders they rejected out of hand. on december 6th, settlement offered from the president, that had been drawn up by the college academic senate and its counsel of academic deans. settlement terms were considered by the strike leaders as a violation of the black power principle of self-determination.
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the proposed school of ethnic studies and special admissions programs would not be under the soul control of black and third world students and faculty. the bsu pledged to continue the struggle if necessary all year long. as long as it takes to win these demands. on december 10th the bsu issued what they call an official declaration of war. under the state of war all ad hoc rules and regulations set up by the acting president to hamper freedom of speech will be disregarded and the battleground
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tactics will be determined by the central committee of our revolutionary people. on monday, december 9th, the day before the bsu issued the declaration of war, bipartisan mark hurley met with father salmon of the newman center to be briefed on the events at state over lunch at bruno's restaurant. a popular gathering place for city officials and labor union officials. that was the morning that archbishop asked hurley who represent him on the citizens committee. after lunch with salmon hurley and several dozen committee members, met at the labor counsel and bishop was elected chairman.
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next day before hurley's committee held its first formal meeting, he william chester met with arthur and peter radcliffe of the campus teacher's union called local 1352. they met at the dale webb hotel during the san francisco civic center. they were quite surprised when bishop hurley urged them to convince their fellow union members to the to go out on strike. as a way to ensure against further violence on the campus. hurley explained to bierman and radcliffe that according according to an arrangement he
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had brokered between the mayor and the police, if an official labor counsel picket line existed on the sidewalks bordering the campus, the police would respect the picket lines and stay outside the campus interior. the police would remove themselves by rock throwing and brick throwing. they would remove themselves from the temptation to overreact to the provocateurs. marching on to the campus, that generated the pitched battles of the bloody days of
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december 3rd violence. it would be minimized. hurley told them, i'm quoting from the bishop, i consider this strike extremely dangerous. i mentioned to them that i have been in nicaragua. i was standing and watching student demonstration, i stood within 25 feet of the military and i watched them shoot down 35 boys. 12 of whom died and i gave them the last rights. this never happened in the history of nicaragua. i considered the strike a terribly dangerous situation and therefore, i thought it was worth our efforts to go all out
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and find a settlement. author bierman and peter radcliffe does not explain to the local 1352 membership that biff hurley -- bishop hurley urged them to strike. after a persuasive and impassioned report from bierman and radcliffe, they voted to request permission from the labor counsel which the counsel granted. on the next day december 11th december 11th, some 15 members then mobilized a picket line at the front entrance of the campus. that day hurley and his committee held its first
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official meeting and the bishop reiterated father salmon's earlier call for fairness to the students. hurley reminded the public -- this was quoted in the chronicle piece, much history social and otherwise has converged upon this one campus. hurley emphasized that the committee would work to bring peace on the campus, mindful of the principle that genuine peace needed to be the fruit and direct result of justice. three days later hurley flew to washington d.c. and recruited samuel jackson, vice president of the american arbitration
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association to join the committee. bishop hurley's mindset in those december days in 1968 and going forward, was shaped by his experiences as a comfortable insider in san francisco's white catholic establishment. influenced by the city's distinctive tradition of catholic mediation of social conflict. way back to the beginning of the 20th century with archdiocese mitty's predecessor. hurley was influenced by pope john xxiii and by the deliberations and the texts in which a father john o'malley
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called the spirit of vatican two. the bsu leaders while disagreeing among themselves on tactics, shared a mindset shaped by their experiences as angry outsiders, impatient with the city's segregation and institutional racism and committed to the theory in practice of black power and third world liberation. these contrasting mentalities help explain the strike leader's reluctance to engage with hurley committee good-faith bargaining and help explain hurley's persistence in looking for a settlement agreeable to all sides.
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of the president closed the campus on december 13th reopened on january 6th. father hurley sometime joined the picket line. with a major exception of a january 23rd meeting on campus that violated the president's ban during which police came back on the campus and arrested
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453 demonstrators. tactic using a picket line to keep the police off campus proved successful. will probably never forget january 23rd, i spent the entire night going back and forth and hall of justice bailing out students. through the holidays and during january and february, bishop hurley worked to establish a personal connection with the bsu and twls leaders. he was present on campus almost every night. connected with arthur bierman of the teacher's union. usually conversations began well after midnight and continued often into the early morning hours. the student leaders did meet
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with bishop hurley three times. then one week the aft teacher's union voted to end their strike on march 5th a black student's union member named timothy seriously injure himself while trying to blow up the creative arts building. people brought bomb in the building to destroy most of it. unfortunately it blew up in his hand. causing him lifetime injuries. but this event was the tenth of a series of bombing attacks dating to the early years of the strike. it was the second bombing that resulted in an injury to a person. all the rest injured property of
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so called alleged collaborators this incident seriously damaged the credibility of the strikers among their faculty supporters, among the student population and in the general public as well. in the days that followed, the bsu and twlf leaders came again to the st. francis and asked the bishop to meet with them and with george murray in the county jail. police had arrested murray after stopping him and claiming they found two loaded guns in his car, murray denied the guns were his. he was now in jail for violating his parole. by the way, carrying handguns
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was a custom, a norm and practice professor breerman told me at the meetings with strike leadership at his house that he shared with his wife, susan bierman, that susan bierman insisted that when they entered the house, the strike leaders had to one take off their shoes and two, put all of their handguns on a table that was near the door. which apparently was not a problem. well hurley drove to the city jail. met with murray and bsu twlf leadership. murray asked the bishop to
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intercede on his behalf. saying they are your parishioners. you can surely do something about this. hurley replied he could not promise this would work he would do all he could to seek murray's release from jail and to seek amnesty for students who are facing criminal charges of assaulting police officers during the strike. now in contrast and their confidence back on december 6th murray and the student leaders were exhausted by the weeks of struggle and they realized how much their moral authority have been weakened by the peebles bombing. george murray agreed to remove the demand that he be rehired as
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instructor at the college. bsu and twlf leaders agreed to negotiate with the president and the faculty committee. bishop agreed he would oversee and help draft the actual strike settlement. by the middle of march 1969, hurley's effort to facilitate peace with justice bore fruit when he chaired a meeting in the president's office during which all the parties endorsed the settlement terms he drawn up. this led to an end of the strike on march 21st. bishop hurley continued to meet with the college administration in an effort to gain amnesty for
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george murray and other strike leaders. but, in the middle of a tense meeting, hurley had to be taken to st. mary's hospital on account to the painful officer. he was in hospital and out of commission for several weeks. his absence had negative consequences for the students. because without the bishop's forceful advocacy age college administration declined to ask the district attorney's office to withdraw criminal charges against at the number of the student strikers. george murray was released after two and a half months in jail but only after promising to turn away from black power and revolution and agreeing to stay
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off college campuses in california. well, two months after the meeting, meeting in which hurley's personal diplomacy brought about a september bishop wrote to the members of the mayor's citizens committee and thanked them for their work. i'm quoting from his letter. it was predestined to be unsung in the public media and virtually unknown to the public, it would serve the committee clung to its role of seeking reconciliation within the community based on justice for all. hurley closed by saying to himself, the bishop, sf state
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class of 1969. you're looking at a picture of the library at san francisco state. bishop hurley's efforts to bring the strike to a conversation combined peace with justice earned him a public service award from the city of san francisco signed by mayor joseph. on august 29th, black activist carlton goodlatte telephoned bishop hurley. he complained that it was student strikers, not the catholic bishop, who shall receive a public service award
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from the city of san francisco. well, both popular and scholarly accounts of the strike at state followed carlton goodlatte's example. where their contribution to multi-cultural education while ignoring and dismissing the role of bishop hurley. despite his contribution to peace-making. perhaps, this account of bishop hurley's role in the strike at stake will put his efforts on record and contribute a positive catholic dimension to an important scholarly project. that is the project of restoring
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realism, complexity and nuance to the history of black power inspired reform movements in american colleges and universities. hurley story demonstrates why in my view, we need a whole new approach to the history of black power. one that will contextualize black radicalism and constant companion. some times challenge it, but not liberalism foil were solvent. the hurley story also relates directly to the work of other historian who are advancing this contextcontextcontextualizing agenda.
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in the development of black studies across the country and devin fergus a black historian political scientists, shown how in his words, the liberal coalition engaged in a productive relationship with radical upstarts. absorbing black separatist into the political mainstream and keeping them from a more vibrant path. seems to me, bishop hurley story also contributeses to the discussion of the catholic encounter with the 1960's in particular the overlapping stories of how white liberal catholics related to the u.s. civil rights movement and how
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vatican too played out in u.s. cities across the nation. hurley's role in settling the strike at stake would seem to exemplify the thesis of two theologians. both named joseph. joseph rodsinger and joseph cam camonchuck. the end of the third session argued that the event of the counsel was a spiritual awakening among the bishops present. they had become more open-minded, less timid and tentative, more frank and bold. camonchuck write being what happened at vatican, described the counsel as a cultural turning point for roman
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catholicism that called catholics to assume new and more positive relationships with protestants, members of other religions and the bearers of modern social political and cultural movements. finally, the hurley story contributes to the unfinished project commended to us by our friend kevin starr in the introduction to his book "continental ambitions." i quote from the introduction, it is time for american catholics to repossess and to learn from the story of their north american pilgrimage and for americans of every persuasion to come to a better understanding of each other.
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thank you so much. [applause] >> c-span informs me, we do have time for questions. if you have any questions please come up to the microphone stand. don't be shy. i see a lot of people here who i know are not shy. i'll take advantage of being here to ask the first question to get things rolling. bill i'm very curious, you're in a unique position, you not only lived through these events, you were a participant. here you are now several decades later, i'm interested how your perceptions may have changed from the mediacy of your involvement and more detached observation of that scholar. i'm interested in your views
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about the president of san francisco state university at the time and how this evolved. recalled he was ail to parlay his role in the disturbances at state into a tendency in 1976. although it was alleged unfairly that he slept through most of his tenure. i noticed recently one of your former colleagues written a biography of him. >> thank you chris. well, as i like to say to my grandchildren i'll start with the bottom line. bottom line is that i'm always
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reminded when somebody ask me about looking back at the san francisco state. i'm reminded of a quotation. the chinese communist leader. he was asked at a relatively young age, what is your view of how the french revolution during the civil war 1940's, he's recorded saying, it's too soon to say. as i went over to campus on thursday and took this picture in order to share with you the look of the campus today --
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stretch the bottom line further. it's too soon to tell what the consequences of the strike were. i can say a from my perspective today, i have the same assessment that i had when december 6th proposal was rejected. that we could have settled it right then. i was aware because i was working -- i was aware of the events of the student strike at howard university in washington d.c. at that time, i was working for reverend dr. samuel dewitt proctor. one of dr. king's mentors, dr. proctor was a baptist minister a college president. he was president of north carolina ant university.
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dr. proctor became something of a mentor and wise man for me. because of his experiences, he has been deputy director of a peace corps. when i interviewed for the job to be in charge of the history teaching at 13 black colleges in the south and experimental program part of president johnson's programs, we finished interview, i said dr. proctor do you have any questions for me? i don't come from protestant background and i'm baptized catholic and i'm excite. dr. proctor said, after your
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concentrate in rome, i understand it's okay for you to work with us. as far as your skin goes, i don't care what color it is, as long as it's thick. [applause] during greensboro, dr. proctor behind the scenes worked to support the students but he refused to take a public position as president of the university on the side of the southern christian leadership conference organized sit-ins. his advice to me when i accepted and offered to come back to san francisco, my hometown at san
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francisco state in the fall of 1968, dr. proctor and i had a little talk and we knew from media about the disruptions and dr. proctor said, you're going to have to walk a very dangerous line. he said, you have a family and three school-aged kids you're going to want to get tenure there. that's where you came from and you probably want to go back. you have to walk a very thin line. also my by the time i time back to san francisco at the end of august, 1968, i was a confirmed critic of the particular black nationalist definition of black power that stockley carmichael was going around the country and becoming a celebrity because of
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such support. i was critical of the version of black power at san francisco state. onit could make things worse before they got better and that no revolutionary situation did exist and picking up a gun could result in you're being the beneficiary of somebody else having picked up the gun. during the strike, along with
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several other recently hired members in the history department, i was playing a kind of game of hide and seek. supporting striking students but making sure i left no paper trail or otherwise it would allow me to be denied tenure if and when i got to the position of applying for tenure and promotion. i did things like raised bail money and supported students in various ways. a number of us in the history department were playing this kind of game because the history department senior faculty was dead set against even the moderate reforms that we supported. i still think the bsu and twlf
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should have settled on december 6th the way that the students at howard university settled. they compromised. compromise is sometimes difficult. there's a whole philosophy of things not compromised. it's worth working toward but there was no compromise to be had at that point in the strike. as far as my views of the president i did not know him well. i met him several times in my capacity as an elected member of the academic senate, academic freedom committee. i regard senator as a tragic figure. but again, not somebody who is
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simply the victim of unintended consequences. he chose his actions but he was also being acted upon. i will stop there. i'm going on too long. i have people waiting. >> effect of the strike on the city as a whole and daily life of citizens? >> that's a great question, jim. first of all bottom line, we need a good history of impact on the strike on the political and culture of san francisco. my working hypothesis has two parts. number one, the strike at san francisco state damaged the standing and reputation of san
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francisco state college, faculty and students for at least 25 years. i'm speaking as a person who was somewhat active in the community in various community activities and saw over and over again the consequences of san francisco state being denigrated and painted as lesser than because of the strike and because of the failure to take a firm hand against those -- i'm quoting a particular person, campus should have taken a firmer hands on those communist, free lovers and all of those others. i won't use the word that will get you in trouble. long term, i think -- i'm going
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to rift off your question a little bit to talk about well, to mention how memory transmutes into history. while memory stands, there are of course, many memories of the strike and its impact on san francisco. the most dominating memory has become that the strike was a great thing because it helped san francisco state become a beacon of multicultural diversity. but unmentioned in that particular memory is the failure
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on the part of san francisco's political culture in my view, to question the tendency to conflate bravery and intensity with merits of action. there's a tendency in american popular culture to celebrate bravery and intensity and fail to analyze in any systematic way the political social, cultural moral ethical merits of an action. that's a big topic. i like to write on book about that at some point.
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[indiscernible] >> well, the way i see it, i have friends who -- my friend and san francisco history colleague, chris carlton edited a book ten days. in that work on the strike is presented as a heroic milestone on the march of progress. you heard this. the march of progress. the march of progress begins with the protestant reformation continues later with the french revolution and then it continues but not successfully with the revolutions of 1848 and 1849. we fast forward to the russian revolution and then the chinese revolution and then subsequent,
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20th century revolution like the ones in the western hemisphere nicaragua etcetera. this is the notion that mankind and women kind as well, human progress consist in the advance of human rights defined as individual rights. what we've failed to do -- here in san francisco, that particular let's call it a scenario or narrative, city is a place where human rights can be practiced. human rights defined as individual choice. as we know from -- as i know from walking through the streets of san francisco, i live in berkeley now not because of anything having to do with this, as we know, the celebration and
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the promotion of individual rights has not kept track with the fostering of community well-being and the common good. you would immediately say well, how do you have a common good when you have a society of individuals promoting their individual rights? big question. it's a question we're all going to be dealing with just as i spent a lot of time in hungarian romania since the late 1970's. they're dealing with the same questions there but with a different history. but it's the same question. how do we balance the individual rights and the common good. how do we define the common good as individual rights move beyond tradition and authority especially tradition and authority associated with
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religion denominations or faith-based traditions. it's a work in progress. >> bill, thanks so much. really love the emphasis on what your work is bringing to the kind of realism that your work is bringing to the study of this moment. not it's related to black studies but ethnic studies and conversations about future public higher education in california now. we got big things happening love the nuance. i'm curious about everyday people. we know that in 1965, howard sermon came back to san francisco. more less retired from public life. i'm curious, do we know? was he involved in any of these
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things? of course, you noted that kevin was in boston at the time. he started his dissittation in 1965. we also know that he famously didn't write on this period of time or we have small bits of that. i'm curious to know what you may know of what kevin was thinking. we know kevin absorbs this, understands that race is the american dilemma. how is this shaping some of his thinking look the way? >> well, great question.
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unfortunately, our lives kevin's and mine, do not intersect to the point of our becoming close personal friends. although, kevin is not here to say, i think we both would have enjoyed that. we enjoyed the lunches and talks and shared platforms that we participated in. i did learn that -- i was living on baker street between fulton and mcallister kevin was living on clayton just a few blocks away. we never passed each other on the street or sat near each other in a pew at st. agnus
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church. i do know that kevin went east after studying at berkeley and then moving to san francisco state to study with someone who was doing the kind of u.s. history including one of my teachers here. i went east as well. i probably would have stayed there if i haven't been offered a job at state. that's a good topic for someone to investigate. if you can take that up. >> thank you for your presentation professor issel. i have a question regarding your timeline for the current 21st century. given that now the unrest and the violence that is happening
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after giving your fantastic presentation how do you see this 21st century in terms of evolution of our culture? >> how much time do we have? that is a fantastic question. the question is, how would i assess what's happening today with the international, transnational if you like revival of ethno cultural nationalism with the white distrust of public officials and authority figures in institutions generally. i think one could do some comparison and contrast between the 1960's and today.
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i think we're in for a good -- i was asked this question many times just last year when i was teach ing at the west university in romania. that's the city where revolution in 1989 began in romania. i was always asked the question, what do you think about what's going on now? especially because so many of the students and the people -- several of the cafe owners who we became friends with, we have to have another revolution here in romania. there's no chance for reform.
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the reformers who are present in the government now are corrupt. they just turned our country into another corrupt dictatorship with a different name run by a different party. my short answer is, we are in for a period of 10 to 20 years as the world adjusts to the challenges of globalism, as the world adjusts to a multicenterred international political arena. we don't have a cold war situation. we need to adopt -- i don't
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usually quote revolutionaries this revolutionary is near and dear to my heart for various reasons. his name was antonio, he is known for saying, this is a time for pessimism of the intelligence and optimism of the will. now to bring this back to bishop hurley and vatican two, i think i'm not alone on this, this is not my original thought, i think his work revisiting the 1965 constitution on the church in the modern world.
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that document from vatican two in my view, i'm not a theologian i like to read the stuff. unlike another historian who in the pretty face of preface to his latest book, he said, i always must thank my first teachers who once said, mr. mcdonough, you acting like a spineless jelly fish. she said if you are too wise for your years young man. wow. you can find that in the preface to his latest book. anyway, sister euphemia was
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sister jyles who prepareed me. it's worth going back to -- i want to say the language, the latin language because president and father sullivan will probably criticize my latin. it's the pastoral constitution in the church in the modern world. joy and hope! that's not a counsel for naive or reckless optimism but it is a counsel for hope. i'm talking way too much. [applause] >> thank you again bill for your remarks today. i like to thank the department of history at the university of san francisco for cohosting this
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with the san francisco museum and historical society and also c-span for taking the time to come out here and cover this today. thank you everyone. >> follow us on twitter @ cspanhistory for our schedule and to keep up with c-span news. >> in the summer of 1918 during
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world war i, american general john pershing formed the first army in france where they would soon be tested in the largest battle in u.s. military history. the 47-day campaign started 100 years ago on september 26. next, on "reel america," a big picture episode documenting the beaches of normandy and the liberation of nazi concentration camps. ♪


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