The late historian James MacGregor Burns, in his studies of political leadership, noted that throughout the decade of the 1960’s political leadership emanated from the bottom up, rather than from the top down. The civil rights movement, and later the anti-war movement, both started out with activism at the grass roots. He explained that it […]Read article
Black students at Williams refused to let their geographic isolation inure them to the historical changes taking place in the greater society. Instead, students of the classes of 1967-1970 sparked revolutions at Williams that changed the college forever.Read article
One thing I’ve discovered while writing these recollection pieces is that my memory has gaping holes. I’ve mentioned that I don’t remember whose idea the Comiskey Park incident was. And later, you’ll find I don’t remember whose idea the bus trip was. But here the hole is that I don’t remember going to college. Not being in college. I’ll write some about that. I don’t remember getting to college. I’m pretty sure my dad drove me. But I remember nothing about the drive, which must have taken two days. Is this from a faulty memory, or the wondrous subconscious? Did we discuss my future? Did Pop reminisce about his college days? I don’t remember.Read article
Review by Ken Jackson
Mark Kurlansky. 1968: The Year that Rocked the World.
New York: Ballantine, 2004.
Mark Kurlansky is the author of bestsellers Salt and Cod. 1968: The Year that Rocked the World is a richly researched popular narrative that hangs an international history of the sixties on this single year.
President John Sawyer was a distant figure to most of us, the more so because he was not the best of public speakers and seemed to have a certain reserve in gatherings. It was rather paradoxical, really, on a campus where the Mark Hopkins ideal of professors and students engaging in lively discussion in a very personal educational process was the norm.Read article
Scene: The lower reading room of the Williams College Library
Time: About 3 am.
A kind of late-night emptiness, accentuated by the buzzing of fluorescent lights, pervades the room. All the dawn-scribblers and midnight-oilers have left. From across the campus the gym clock sounds its three o’clock dirge, and the dark portraits, silent for generations, finally speak.
First to break the hollow silence are Charles Dewey, 1824-1866, a weak-eyed, rather pale former trustee; and to his right the stern nobly-bewhiskered benefactor Frederick Ferris Thompson, he of the Memorial Chapel and the science buildings.
The hits just kept on happening through a decade that summoned the energy of a renaissance and a revolution in what was called a youth culture — us, the children of warriors, raised in an era of unparalleled wealth, our college years bracketed by assassinations, against a backdrop of a civil rights movement that defined the era.Read article