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Here is the first biography of Mario Savio, the brilliant leader of Berkeley's Free Speech Movement, the largest and most disruptive student rebellion in American history. Savio risked his life to register black voters in Mississippi in the Freedom Summer of 1964 and did more than anyone to bring daring forms of non-violent protest from the civil rights movement to the struggle for free speech and academic freedom on American campuses. Drawing upon previously unavailable Savio papers, as well as oral histories from friends and fellow movement leaders, Freedom's Orator illuminates Mario's egalitarian leadership style, his remarkable eloquence, and the many ways he embodied the youthful idealism of the 1960s. The book also narrates, for the first time, his second phase of activism against "Reaganite Imperialism" in Central America and the corporatization of higher education. Including a generous selection of Savio's speeches, Freedom's Orator speaks with special relevance to a new generation of activists and to all who cherish the '60s and democratic ideals for which Savio fought so selflessly.
Robert Cohen teaches social studies and history at New York University and chairs the department of Teaching and Learning in NYU's Steinhardt School of Education. A Berkeley graduate, he is the author of When the Old Left Was Young and the co-editor of The Free Speech Movement: Reflections on Berkeley in the 1960s . He lives in Greenwich Village.
Table of Contents
Part I: The Education of an American Radical
1. Child of War
2. The Making of a Civil Rights Activist
3. Freedom Summer
Part II: Avatar of Student Protest: Leading the Free Speech Movement
4. From Polite Protest to the First Sit-In
5. The Police Car Blockade
6. Organizing and Negotiating
7. "We Almost Lost": The FSM in Crisis
8. Speaking Out and Sitting In
9. "Free Speech at Last"
Part III: After the Revolution: A Voice Lost and Found
10. Descending from Leadership
11. Battling Back
12. Dying in the Saddle