Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lecture and film series previews conference celebrating Port Huron Statement

A series of free lectures and films this month and throughout October will provide historical context for an upcoming national conference at U-M celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Port Huron Statement, a legendary document of the New Left movement of the 1960s.


More information

• Full schedule for the Preview Lecture and Film Series.
• Port Huron Statement conference website.

The Preview Lecture and Film Series features seven speakers, mostly U-M faculty, who will explain some of the background to the Port Huron years in preparation for the conference, "A New Insurgency: The Port Huron Statement in its Time and Ours," which will run Oct. 31-Nov. 2.

The next lecture in the series will be at 4 p.m. Thursday in 1014 Tisch Hall. Finn Brunton, assistant professor of information, will explain how mass protest was organized using the simple technologies of mimeograph machines and telephone calls.

"The series introduces members of the campus and community to some of the fundamental historical conditions from the late 1950s to the mid-1960s, which inspired an age of dissent still echoing in American memory," said Howard Brick, the Louis Evans Professor of History and conference organizer.

The 75-page Port Huron Statement, drafted by civil rights activist Tom Hayden, former editor of the Michigan Daily, emerged from a meeting of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at the United Auto Workers Retreat on Lake Huron in June 1962. Its call for participatory democracy still resonates with today's activists.

Hayden, Al Haber and other co-founders of the SDS will speak at the free, public three-day conference at the end of October. It will explore the significance of the statement and the social, cultural and political history of the New Left.

Brick says the U-M conference is the most important among several recent conferences commemorating the statement's 50th anniversary because of its broad scope and U-M's significance in the birth of SDS.

"Our conference carries special import because University of Michigan students spearheaded the organization of SDS after 1960," Brick said. "It will also examine a wide range of left wing social movements of the same era in the U.S., Europe, Africa and Latin America."