Student Movements in the Sixties


The 1960’s was one of the most turbulent times in the United States. Students shook the innocence and sternness of the 1950’s to become active members of society. It was a time of change with the Civil Rights Movement, The Berkeley Free Speech Movement, and the Anti-War Movement to name a few. Students took an active role in all of these movements and some will argue changed the face of American society. Since that time, there have been some excellent books written about student involvement in the 1960’s as well as the 60’s in general. Along with these books are some wonderful online resources available through the World Wide Web. Finding quality resources, much less a starting point, can be very difficult.

This pathfinder was created to help Internet users find reliable information about student movements in the 1960’s for either personal knowledge or formal research. Both print and Internet sources are covered. Please Remember that these resources are excellent starting points, but that additional research from the bibliographies of these works is necessary to understand the full complexity of this historical time in our history.

Print Sources

Although the topic of student movements in the 1960’s is very specialized. There are some books that strictly focus on this topic and the topic is covered to a lesser degree in books regarding the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement. If your library uses the Library of Congress classification system, then you should look under a few different headings. First you can look at books under general U.S. History which can be found under E: General History or for a more specific classification look for books under the classification HN: Social History. Social Problems. Social reform. Books about the Vietnam War can be found in various sections, but many are clustered in the DS558 and D559 ranges. Books about the Civil Rights Movement can be found in the range of E185 If your library uses the Dewey Decimal System, like most public libraries, then books about the Vietnam War will be classified under 959.704 and books about the 1960’s can be found under 973.923.

Specific Books

John and Susan Erlich’s Student Power, Participation and Revolution (Association Press: New York, 1970). A collection of college and high school writings which illustrate the wide range of student concerns over issues of the 60’s.

James Kunen’s The Strawberry Statement (Random House: New York, 1970). The notes of a Columbia student who took part in the sit-ins, occupations of buildings and strike in 1968. Extremely funny but very serious.

Gerard DeGroots’s Student Protest : The Sixties and After (Longman: New York, London 1998). This topical new study takes a new look at the causes, course and consequences of student activism across the world since its heyday in the 1960s.

Godfrey Hodgson’s America in Our Time (Doubleday &Co: 1976). An excellent comprehensive study of the 1960’s; especially good chapters on Kennedy, the Berkeley episode and the counter-culture’s truimp and failure

The U.S. Government’s Printing Office’s Report of the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest (1970).An account of the major student demonstrations at Berkeley, Columbia, Kent State and Jackson State.

Video Resources

There are some excellent documentary style videos that focus on the Sixties. Many of these may be available from your public library. Here are a couple of the outstanding ones:

  • In a Dark Time (PBS Video, 1991)
  • Making Sense of the Sixties (PBS Video, 1991)
  • Picking up the Pieces (PBS Video, 1991)

World Wide Web Resources

There are resources available on the World Wide Web about the Sixties and student involvement. Some of those sites include:

  • The Sixties Project
    The Sixties Project is a very comprehensive site on the 1960’s. It features a excellent exhibits on the 60’s as well as a discussion board, reviews, resources, and poetry."
  • Jay’s Radical History Links
    This is comprehensive site of links to movements throughout the world. They have specific links to the Civil Rights Movement, U.S. Women’s Rights and Women’s Liberation, U.S. Anti-War Movement, U.S. Black Power Movement, U.S. Native American Movement and Student and Countercultural Movements
  • Social Movements of the 1960’s
    This site gives a very nice college-level explanation of what gave rise to the dissent in the 1960’s as well as some of the motivating factors of various Sixties student groups.

This pathfinder was created by Scott A. Brower