The anti-war years of the 1960s brought the formation of numerous activist groups across the nation's college campuses. Surrounded by a town dominated by machine politics, red-necked bigotry and segregated off-campus housing, San Jose State University was no exception. The home campus of Olympic boycotter Tommie Smith, it had its share of black activists and white anti-war protesters. As students became inexorably drawn into the common cause of campus radicals, a new society fueled by hope for the future became a rallying point for thousands of Bay area youths and their dreams. Author Timothy Fitzgerald records his experiences and those of other key figures during this pivotal time in history when color barriers were broken and the formation of a new brotherhood was underway. This is their story.
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Just a decade after “Leave It to Beaver,” the turbulent 1960s became a time of rioting and unrest. Protests against the Vietnam War in America reached a crescendo as the decade came to a close, and many life-long friendships were forged in the heat of solidarity.
The anti-war years bred numerous activist groups across the nation’s college campuses. San Jose was a California town dominated by machine politics, bigotry and segregated off-campus housing. The university saw its share of black activists and white anti-war protesters.
The Wawona Brotherhood: The San Jose State Campus Revolt is a remembrance of that time, giving an account of the civil rights movement in the Bay Area, when SJSU’s student body crossed the color line to elect the first black student to lead any campus in State College history. This was a crowning achievement for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and for human rights, without which the story of Barack Obama’s victory would be incomplete.
Author Tim Fitzgerald, a mountaineer from Yosemite Valley, was one of the students drawn into the radical cause on campus. Together with Cognitive Psychology Movement leader Bob Prentky, liberal cause activist Richard Miner, and Olympic Boycott organizer James Edwards, a new society united by a cause of racial equality and hope for the future soon became a rallying point for young people.