My KPFA - A Historical Footnote






Is Freedom Academic?


A documentary of the Free Speech Movement

at the University of California, Berkeley

Fall 1964


For a rising generation of KPFA reporters, the FSM was what the SF HUAC demo had been for their elders only four years before. Already, most of the repertorial voices heard in that earlier sound documentary had left the station, if not the network. In their place, the narrator on this LP was News Director Scott Keech (heard here in interview) and the principal on-the-spot reporter was Al Silbowitz, later to be Station Manager (heard here in interview).

For me, as one of those inside Sproul Hall with a recorder, there could be no argument about police brutality and student non-violence--I was getting it down on tape. The official reports were mostly lies. A major step in my political education was seeing the police drag the students down the steps by their heels, their heads bouncing off the stones. 

Three decades later the encyclopaedic history of the FSM* would be written by David Lance Goines, one of the student participants. By then he was, among other things in his distinguished career, the principal graphic designer associated with Chez Panisse, of which one of the directors was Charles Shere, who, at the time of the FSM, was KPFA's Music Director and one of the production assistants listed on this record. In Berkeley, the degrees of separation are usually much less than six.

 * David Lance Goines, The Free Speech Movement: Coming of Age in the 1960s, Berkeley, Ten Speed Press, 1993, 767pp. The author did his own text and cover design.