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Free Speech Movement Oral History Project

About the Project
Interview Transcripts

John Sutake Transcript [in process]

Conducted by Lisa Rubens in 2000, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2014.

Photo of John Sutake John Sutake was a freshman at Cal, Mario Savio’s roommate and part of the FSM Central Support Staff headquartered at their College Avenue apartment. He describes the committee structure of the movement and the process of accomplishing all  the day to day tasks involved in running a movement —ranging from writing leaflets and  press releases, setting up sound systems and organizing rallies and managing volunteers among many other activities. Sutake reflects on his personal relationship with Mario Savio, the role of Marilyn Noble as “den mother” for the staff, and his observations about major events and the leadership of FSM. Sutake discusses gender relations within FSM and the ways in which activists relaxed despite the enormous pressures under which h they operated.  He also discusses the burning of lists of FSM supporters, the formation of the Free Speech Union and the subsequent “Filthy Speech Movement.” At the time of this interview Sutake was part of the landscape and grounds maintenance staff at UC Berkeley.

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