1960 April 28

Newly Formed SDS Holds “Act Now” Conference on Human Rights in the North


Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the most important college student political activist group in the 1960s, was inspired by the Southern sit-ins, and was committed to civil rights, economic justice, and expanding democratic participation in American society. SDS leader Tom Hayden had been beaten in Mississippi on October 11, 1961, while on a visit to observe the southern civil rights movement. The conference on this day urged student activists to address human rights issues in the North.

In 1965 SDS became the leading anti-Vietnam War organization, sponsoring the first march on Washington in opposition to the Vietnam War on April 17, 1965. In 1968, however, SDS split, with the Weatherman faction committed to violent radical actions. SDS collapsed and vanished as a result.

Tom Hayden was one of the Chicago Eight, prosecuted under the new federal anti-riot act for leading the demonstrations at the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention. Because of the police violence against demonstrators, an official investigation labeled the event a “police riot.” 

Tom Hayden, an SDS co-Founder, reflects on SDS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJeAF3E2yl0

Find Books About SDS: http://www.sds-1960s.org/books.htm

Read Tom Hayden’s memoirs: Tom Hayden, Reunion: A Memoir (1988)

Find documents about SDS and related subjects: http://www.sds-1960s.org/

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