On December 3, 1964, I got on the bus from Oakland City College and went to UC Berkeley knowing that something big was going to happen. I had been following the news reports of the Free Speech Movement since it had started earlier that semester. I was during that semester employed as a reader for a blind folk singer, another student at OCC, for whom I had been reading for about a year at that point. Both folk singers, we had become very close and I considered him at that time to be my best and only friend. His name was Charles Bird, not to be confused with the jazz musician of that name and he was a regular performer at the Blind Lemon coffeehouse in Berkeley. Charles and I were both founding members of an OCC branch of SLATE, baby sister to the Berkeley organization of that name. We had become an official campus organization in order to address political issues at OCC, but the FSM was a further inspiration to us.
Charles and I had attended several rallies on the steps of Sproul Hall, but were not present during the demonstration wherein the police car was surrounded. Charles, a veteran of the HUAC demonstrations in San Francisco that are shown at the start of the film Berkeley in the Sixties, went with me on Dec. 3, but decided not to participate in the sit-in because he already had been impacted by being arrested at the HUAC demonstrations and, he told me, because its harder for a blind man in jail than it is for a person who is not blind. I had by then decided that if there should be a sit-in, I would participate and if there were arrests, I would be arrested. That is what happened.
Below are documents I have dragged around with me through every move, divorce, change, bust, eviction, firing, for nearly 50 years, apparently awaiting the invention of the internet. Probably some of them are available elsewhere, but a few probably only exist now because I have the soul of a librarian and could not bear to part with them, thinking sometime, somewhere, they might be of use to someone. They have all been photoshopped to make them readable online, but never edited or changed otherwise in any way. I have included envelopes to further establish their authenticity.
A word on names–unorthodox women face many name changes and mine had further changes for spiritual reasons. I was born Barbara Ann Arnold. When I was arrested in the FSM and for some years after that, my married name was Barbara Arnold Samuels. When I divorced, I took back my maiden name and was Barbara Ann Arnold for many more years. Then, I dropped out, became a country hippie and changed my name to Jentri, my respelling of my mother’s maiden name. I was just Jentri for a while, considered being Jentri X, thinking women are not much better off in the last name department than are persons of color, since their last names are only their father’s last names, all other name history is lost because of being female, but before I could do that I heard of Laura X of Berkeley, who had beat me to it.
Then I married a man whose last name was Anderson. Not being able to bear the patriarchal “son” on the end, I kicked around variations like Anderdottir (common Finnish form) or Andervidual, but ended up finally with just Anders. So for many years my name has been Jentri Anders, the J and i in Jentri being my own spelling of Gentry. There are oodles and kaboodles of meaning for me in both names, but that’s a story for later on. I hasten to stipulate that in California there is nothing at all illegal about changing your name as long as you are not defrauding anyone and I went to great lengths to document that I was not doing that. You only need to do it in court for out-of-state purposes, like, for instance, a passport (mine was in the name Barbara Ann Arnold.)
Oh, forgot one version in the middle. My PhD was issued to Barbara Jentri Anders, a hybrid that occurred because although I was already using just Jentri when I first began PhD work at Washington State University, I realized what a hassle it would be to get admitted under any name but one of the ones on all my transcripts. So, all of the years I was working on my PhD at WSU, I was Barbara Ann Arnold in Pullman and Jentri in California. When I was asked what name to put on my sheepskin, I wanted some official reference to both names and I was by that time married and using Anders. So anyone attempting to verify any of my history is going to have to work with Barbara Ann Arnold, Barbara Arnold Samuels, Jentri, Barbara Jentri Anders and Jentri Anders. Good luck.
I’m not entirely certain where this paper Vee, from which I had to extract a rusty straight pin that had been there for decades in order to scan it, fits into history. I think maybe the FSM bustees wore it soon after the bust, proudly, to identify themselves. Maybe to our arraignment? But I could be wrong about that.
What is of interest in the document below is not the Spice Island advertising, but what I wrote on it sometime during my bust experience, before I had any idea that anyone was going to bail me out of jail or offer legal assistance. Somebody gave me the number of the ACLU and some phone numbers, I think, of other FSMers to whom I could turn. Probably the ad was in somebody’s jeans or jacket pocket or, during the sit-in, in someone’s purse.
Below, cards passed around to us at some point, along with Barrish Bail Bond ballpoint pens, which some of us were amused to wield prominently among our friends. Lost the pen, still have the card.