Through a series of what I can only regard as flukes of Fate, I participated as an interviewee in the documentary film, “Berkeley in the Sixties.” I was never any kind of leader in any of the political movements that took place when I was in Berkeley, from 1964 to 1971 but, perhaps just because of this, I lasted longer and was able to participate in pretty much everything political that happened there in that time period. Mark Kitchell, director of Berkeley in the Sixties included me in the film as a “foot soldier” in what we called The Movement and I accept that as an accurate description.
Over the years since the film came out in 1990, I have been contacted by people interested in that slice of history. As a result, I wrote my autobiography as an activist, Drag Me Out Like a Lady: an activist’s journey, published in October, 2022, by Gegensatz Press and available on Google Play. The purpose of this blog, which grew into the book, is to make it easier for historians interested in the subject matter to access whatever it is I can contribute to the general understanding of what happened, from the standpoint of one individual among many in the crowd. Since I have the soul of a librarian, I saved documents from that period, not knowing why. I must have been waiting for the internet to be invented so I could post them here, along with my memories, as a “people” in the spirit of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, I see my story as presenting what life was like for a lifetime political activist who started out in the deep South and ended up in the far West, in more ways than one.
It so happens that my first book, Beyond Counterculture: the community of Mateel was published the same year the film came out. It is an ethnography of back-to-the-landers in Humboldt County, California, where I landed after exploding out of Berkeley after being, essentially, politically and sexually harassed out of the Anthropology Department at UC. My blog on that period of history is Sojourn in the Land of Shum.
Trailer on YouTube of Berkeley in the Sixties.