Eleventh graders in Berkeley High School’s International Baccalaureate (IB) History of the Americas course are in the middle of their second major unit of study: Social Movements and Civil Rights. Over roughly a nine-week period, students study various movements, such as the Civil Rights movement, Black Power, the Black Panther Party and other ethnic Power movements, youth and student revolts (including the New Left and Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement), Counter-culture, Feminism, and others. The course is essentially a survey course and we cover as much and as deeply as we can given our time constraints.
Teachers Ross Parker and Robin Vegt were recently lucky enough to tap into an amazing resource available FOR FREE to further explore Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement: The Berkeley Historical Society. Thanks to the generosity of the docents and management, on December 17th and 18th, nearly 250 of their students were able to meander through and study their exhibit: “Looking Back: The Free Speech Movement at Fifty”. Through a combination of primary and secondary sources, documentaries, guest speakers, and now this exhibit, these students are making profound connections not only between the various social movements of fifty years ago, but also to those going on right now! Thank you Berkeley Historical Society!