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When you research SDS -- and virtually any other student organization, it is important to remember the year begins in September, and virtually ends in June. Thus dates are for academic years -- 61-62, the founding year, prep for Port Huron, and later 1963-64 -- Civil Rights. The summer conventions elected national leaders and set program priorities, and as you move through this organization that lasted but about seven years -- you discover year by year a much larger list of priorities, to the extent that by the time you arrive in the mid-60's everything is a priority (and thus, as some would say, nothing is). 63-64 priority setting was in the wake of Birmingham, and Kennedy's Civil Rights Speech. The SDS program was almost entirely Civil Rights -- made more so by two events. In the wake of Kennedy's murder, Johnson cast passing a Civil Rights Bill as a proper memorial to John Kennedy, pretty much locking in place the committee work that had been done in the Senate in the summer of 63, and that was the source of the common themes of the March on Washington in August. SDS was quite involved organizing marchers for that event, chartering busses and all the rest. In the wake of the March, Civil Rights Groups including SDS participated in developing the plans for what became Freedom Summer in 1964. COFO is the named organization coordinating that project -- but SDS had a very key role in recruitment and training of Freedom Summer participants, particularly in establishing the "outside the South" support system in case of arrest or (as we know) worse. At the same time the Civil Rights Bill was the subject of Senate filibuster, though from about April 1964 on it was clear the votes were available to pass it. A very large number of SDS chapters played highly significant roles in rounding up votes -- particularly in Districts and States that had very few minorities, and SDS did this in collaboration with Labor and Organized Religion. It is not the usual image of SDS, but in the winter-spring of 1964 it was "the priority." SDS always had very limited control over what local chapters could address, thus it is not at all unusual that some chapters might have taken up Vietnam at some point in 1964 -- but it was more likely to have been in the 64-65 academic year even though the national leadership had set ending In loco parentis rules as their focus in the summer 1964 convention. In loco parentis was closely related to what became known as the Free Speech Movement at Berkley, and of course it received much attention, but SDS had been advocating dropping rules as to who could be invited to speak on campus for several years. Ohio State, for instance, had non-violent demonstrations on this issue in spring 1962, led in part by SDS members, and the coalition had been quite successful. The connection I make to Vietnam as an SDS subject is that ending the campus speaker gag rules, and the whole in loco parentis structure, led directly to the possibility of the teach-ins -- and SDS sponsored (in part) teach-ins on Vietnam were the dominant project and effort in Winter and Spring of 1965. And yes, the teach-ins were followed by early demonstrations, not only in DC, but New York and many other places. But it should also be remembered that in the spring of 1965 SDS also played a role in the Selma March and passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Bill. Some of the most effective local advocates for Voting Rights were SDS alumni of Freedom Summer, who made the tours of Churches and Synagogues with their first hand Mississippi stories. Before SDS could freely take up Vietnam, it had to break the relationship it still had in early 1965 with the League for Industrial Democracy, its major source of funding. And LID was hard-core anti-Communist Cold War hawk, not at all interested in a student organization questioning the cold war consensus. The decision to make this break took place at the convention in the summer of 1965, and because LID funds basically supported the national office and staff, and were not easily replaced, the decision to make the break had a very significant impact on the coherence of SDS national programs. In June of 1966 you had a most unusual picture at the Washington Shoreham. President Johnson had finally come through with the grand White House Conference on Civil Rights, and among the official delegates were virtually all the founders of both SNCC and SDS. Outside, and loudly demonstrating were the current officers of both organizations, led by Stokley and H. Rap Brown plus thousands more who essentially believed the delegates who wanted to celebrate their accomplishments, and thank Johnson for keeping his word, were sell-outs. There was no bridging the canyon that had opened up. Sallly Todd Minneapolis Sistersara@aol.com