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Free Speech Movement Oral History Project

About the Project
Interview Transcripts

Charles [Charlie] Powell Transcript

Conducted by Lisa Rubens in 2001, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2014.


Photo of Charles Powell speaking from top of police car. BANC PIC 2000.002

Photo of Charles Powell speaking from top of police car. BANC PIC 2000.002

Charles [Charlie] Powell was a senior majoring in Spanish and Latin American affairs, anticipating a diplomatic career. He had made his way up the ranks of student leadership and at the time of FSM was president of the Associated Students of the University of California. In this candid and heartfelt interview —no one had interviewed him before— he discusses the social and political climate on campus previous to FSM reflects on how neither he nor campus administrators had ever encountered nor were preprated to respond to the new style of confrontational politics that characterized the FSM. While a part of most meetings between the administration and the FSM Steering Committee, he felt himself “overwhelmed.” During the crisis he was drawn to Campus Crusade for Christ and subsequently joined the crusade and traveled throughout the U.S. and Europe, where he came to understand more radical student activism. Powell became an ordained pastor of the Presbyterian Church of America.

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