University of South Carolina

Conference to unite former student activists

Some of South Carolina’s student activists from the 1960s and 1970s will join historians March 19 – 21 at the University of South Carolina for a public conference on the impact of student activism in the South.

Titled “Student Activism, Southern Style: Organizing and Protest in the 1960s and 1970s,” the conference will focus on student protests over the Vietnam War, civil rights and women’s rights that took place at colleges throughout the South. Dr. David Snyder, a lecturer of history at the university, organized the conference.

Events will take place in the Russell House University Union and some will be in Gambrell Hall. Most of the panel discussions and lectures are free, and the complete schedule is online at

Two panels featuring former student activists will take place Friday, March 19. Brett Bursey, Vicki Eslinger and Bob Zellner will discuss why and how they became involved in protest movements. A second panel will focus on the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) in the South and will feature Scott Camil, Peter Mahony and Donald Donner. That night, writer Jack Bass will screen and discuss the film, “Scarred Justice,” which details the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre.

Nine panel discussions will take place throughout the day Saturday, March 20. Topics will include examples of activism on college campuses in the South, efforts to repress student activism, civil rights activism in high schools, sexual liberation on college campuses, conservative activism at colleges, the role of campus media and the sit-in movement at Southern colleges.

Political activist Tom Hayden, an organizer of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), will participate in a two-hour panel Saturday night on the topic, “Situating the South in the History of Student Activism.”

Sunday will begin with a panel on the teaching of Southern student activism featuring Dr. Cleveland Sellers, president of Voorhees College, and USC’s John Gardner. Additional panels will focus on desegregation and the Black Power movement and detail examples of counterculture and activism at colleges.

The final panel discussion will feature three Carolina undergraduates discussing student activism today. Award-winning historian and USC professor emeritus Dr. Dan Carter will moderate.

For more information, contact Snyder at 803- 777-6394 or via e-mail at

"Student Activism, Southern Style: Organizing and Protest in the 1960s and 1970s"

  • What: Public conference on the impact of student activism in the South
  • Who: Student activists from the 1960s and 1970s and historians to participate
  • When: March 19 – 21
  • Where: Russell House University Union and Gambrell Hall
Posted: 03/15/10 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 03/19/10 @ 6:32 PM | Permalink