"The Berkeley Revolution" is a digital history website that dramatizes, through curated archives of primary documents from the time, the story of Berkeley's political and cultural transformation in the late-60s and 1970s. It was created primarily by Cal undergraduates, with the supervision of Professor Scott Saul, through an honors seminar in American Studies. Six research projects, with 300 primary source documents attached to them, were launched with the first iteration of the class in 2017; more projects will be launched with future iterations of the class.

"The Berkeley Revolution" seeks to reorient our understanding of Berkeley's history. The phrase “Berkeley in the Sixties” conjures a host of associations, many of them revolving around student activists in the Free Speech and antiwar movements. The phrase “Berkeley in the SEVENTIES” is less resonant, but the city in that decade was at the center of many large-scale transformations that were just as consequential in American culture and politics. 1970s Berkeley served as ground zero for the Black Arts and Black Power movements, Women’s Liberation, the movement for ethnic studies, the organic revolution, the gay rights movement, the Disability Rights Movement, and the free school movement. At the same time, the city was also the scene of countless smaller, more personal attempts to remake society from the ground up. 

On this website we tell this story: of the rare city in the United States where the transformations of the 1960s continued to gain momentum in the 1970s. It’s not a simple tale. An openness to cultural and political experimentation; a hunger for personal authenticity, for a life lived fully, with oppressive social masks stripped off; and a commitment to redress longstanding inequities in American life: these three impulses pulled Berkeley in a number of directions in this period, producing dramatic results and often equally dramatic conflicts. The ideals of the 1960s were tested on the streets of Berkeley in the 1970s.

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