Often overlooked, the student demonstration at Bowling Green State University was the first and most successful 1960s campus protest - and a key point in the transition from 1950s social mores to 1960s activism. What began as a protest against outdated rules about dating and student behaviour quickly turned toward political objectives about civil liberties and ousted the university president. The authors, two of whom were present on campus during the demonstration, tell the story of how what began as dissent against old schoolmarm rules quickly turned into a fully-fledged 1960s crusade, with new issues and tactics. Feminist activists played a leading role, and the uprising succeeded in advancing the civil liberties of women. Drawing on the sociological ideas of Weber, Durkheim, and Marx, this book depicts how young activists broke the 1950s mold, little aware that many of their ideals would be echoed in many important 1960s protests. It is a vivid portrait of how the 1950s became the 1960s in America.
“Uprising at Bowling Green represents a useful and worthwhile read about an important, early chapter of the 1960s that up until now has been lost, stolen, or strayed.”
-International Review of Modern Sociology
“[Uprising at Bowling Green] is a fascinating study of the first large student demonstration of the 1960s, which led to the fall of an autocratic university president. When I began reading this book I could not put it down. Based on their own direct experiences during the uprising, as well as interviews, archival research, and sophistical theoretical and contextual analyses, the authors provide an authoritative and compelling account that situates Bowling Green at the front of events that encompassed the sixties. Their illuminating analysis is a must-read.”
—William Julius Wilson, Harvard University
"Writing about a long-ago protest at Bowling Green State University, Wiley, Perry, and Neal tell a vivid sixties story that significantly enhances our understanding of that tumultuous decade. The campus events at Bowling Green are a prism through which we can understand what happened over forty years ago as we continue to come to grips with those times. Until we settle our score with the many Bowling Greens—which combined institutional repression and surprising faculty and student activism—we will not understand who we were and who we have become."
—Ben Agger, The University of Texas—Arlington, and author of The Sixties at 40 (Paradigm 2009)
"As the authors point out, the Bowling Green student movement was one of the few 1960s campus uprisings in which there was a strong alliance between faculty and students, and this was a key to its success. Revolt from the bottom is seldom successful, as we see in comparing state revolutions, unless it coincides with and
fuses networks with revolt from near the top."
—Randall Collins, University of Pennsylvania