Women Strike for Peace and SNCC leader Stokely Carmichael
Women Strike for Peace during Cuban Missle Crisis, 1962; Stokely Carmichael organizes black voters, AL, 1966
SNCC's John Lewis and Freedom Rider Jim Zweig
After beatings by a segregationist mob, 1961
SDS National Council Meeting
Bloomington, IN, September 1963
Port Huron Statement
Original Pamphlet Version
Mass Meeting, Civil Rights Movement
Pledging to resist segregation, Albany, GA, 1961-62
End the War in Vietnam
First mass protest against the Vietnam War, addressed by SDS president Paul Potter
Visit to Washington
Cuban revolutionary leaders make a good-will visit to Washington, D.C., April 1959
In June 1962, dozens of activists belonging to Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) met in Port Huron, Michigan, to draft a manifesto for a new era of protest. The Port Huron Statement grasped the spirit of the Black Freedom Struggle, the peace movement, and the anti-colonial revolution abroad. It presented a radical vision of social justice and what democracy in action could mean—and it spread the word about an awakening New Left that would soon shake the world.
“A New Insurgency: The Port Huron Statement in Its Time and Ours,” an open, public conference held at the University of Michigan, October 31-November 2, 2012, marked the 50th anniversary of SDS's founding document. Leading activists past and present as well as distinguished scholars explored the diverse contexts that fostered new radical movements in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Conference discussions compared the "new insurgency" of 2011-12—from the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street, the “indignados” and anti-austerity rallies of Europe, and mass student campaigns from Chile to Quebec—with that of 50 years past.
“A New Insurgency” was organized by University of Michigan faculty, students, and staff. In recognition of Michigan’s role in 1960s campus radicalism, we invited scholars, activists, and community members—from this region, the U.S., and around the world—to join us and consider how insurgent campaigns for freedom, equality, and social justice arise and make history.