- HSSB 6020 (McCune Room)
1968 was a pivotal year in U.S. and global history. In the United States, students protested the escalation of the Vietnam War. In France, they protested university conditions and sparked worker strikes across the country. In Mexico City, they protested repression and police violence. This was also the year when the peaceful protest known as the “Prague Spring” flourished in Czechoslovakia, when Martin Luther King Jr. planned a Poor People’s March on Washington, and when Robert Kennedy ran for president. But the backlash against all of these stirrings was fierce. King and Kennedy were gunned down. Soviet tanks crushed the Prague Spring. Disarray in the American peace movement allowed Richard M. Nixon to triumph in the presidential election. This documentary film combines riveting archival footage and insightful interviews—with figures as varied as Jesse Jackson, Barbara Ehrenreich, Carlos Fuentes, and Pat Buchanan—to recreate an extraordinary year. The emerging picture is one of turmoil and anguish but also one of hope. The protests against the Vietnam War did ultimately lead to a winding down of that military venture. The uprising in France spurred university reforms in that country. The Prague Spring, though ground down in 1968, planted the seeds of Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution two decades later. After the screening of the film, Professor Salim Yaqub will make a brief presentation and lead a discussion.