Free Speech Movement
Digital Archive



"There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part, you can't even tacitly take part," said Mario Savio on December 2nd, 1964. 
Thirty-four years later, thanks to a $3.5 million gift from Stephen M. Silberstein, the University of California Berkeley Library and the Bancroft Library began an ambitious program to document the role of Mario Savio and other participants in the Free Speech Movement - a legacy  that can still be traced in political activism and educational reform throughout the country.

As Silberstein noted during ceremonies announcing his gift in April 1998, "We owe no small debt to Mario Savio and the individuals who made up the Free Speech Movement. Despite great personal and family sacrifice, they spoke up for the ideals upon which our society is based, and in which we all believe: a more just world, civil rights, and the removal of limitations on the free discussion and advocacy of ideas. " Silberstein, who worked in the University Library for ten years before leaving to co-found Innovative Interfaces, feels strongly that his support of "one of the world's truly great libraries, is something...Mario would appreciate."  Silberstein's gift funded three distinct entities at the University of California Berkeley:

1. The Mario Savio/Free Speech Movement Endowment which supplements state appropriations for the University Library's collection budget in the Humanities.
2.  The Free Speech Movement Cafe, located in Moffitt Undergraduate Library, provides a public space for open discourse and displays about social and political issues.
3.  The Free Speech Movement Digital Archive and Oral History Project at the Bancroft Library.
During the three year project 1998-2001, the archive actively sought collaborative relationships with institutions and organizations which collect in the fields of free speech, student and social protest, and higher education. When possible, links were made to web sites, finding aids and/or digital collections which expand on the Bancroft collections. Of particular interest were collections relating to the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi and in California during the Summer of 1964, to reform movements in higher education, and to 1960s student protests at colleges and universities throughout the United States

The Free Speech Movement Archives (FSM-A), partners in the Bancroft's Digital Project, was established by Free Speech Movement veterans, including Lynne Hollander, Mario Savio's widow, and Michael Rossman,  long time keeper of the memory, spirit and artifacts of the movement. The FSM-A generously shared material from their own collection and Michael Rossman and Susan Druding, representatives from the FSM-A met regularly with Bancroft project staff over the course of the project to choose materials for digitizing and to advise on the oral history interviews conducted by Lisa Rubens of the Bancroft's Regional Oral History Office (ROHO). Rubens' interviews focus on FSM participants, leaders, witnesses and subject areas that have not been covered in depth before: the participation of women and minority students, faculty-student relationships, legal counsel, and the press. 


Copyright (C) 2005 The Regents of the University of California. 
All rights reserved. Document maintained by The Bancroft Library.
Last updated 11/16/05. Server manager: Contact