This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Protest Activities in Southern Universities, 1965-1972




Grabarek, Kristin

Type of Degree





This thesis examines the existence and character of protest movements in southern universities from the fall of 1965 through the spring of 1972, and offers an explanation for the student dissent in the South in these years while also accounting for its relevance to the study of the anti-Vietnam War and civil rights movements. The origin, development, and end of the antiwar movement in southern universities are described. Until the spring of 1969 the few pockets of southern students protesting the war did so in an orderly fashion and with frank patriotism. During the 1969-70 school year, however, more southern students became willing to question the war as well as their own country; even so, antiwar sentiment in southern students did not survive the shootings at Kent State in May, 1970, and had quieted itself by the fall of that year. This thesis also explores the differences between protest movements on black and white southern campuses. While white protesters often relied on repetitive tactics, black student protesters took more direct, unified action and often met with harsher, and more violent responses than their white counterparts protesting on predominantly white campuses. Unlike the black student movements, which typically focused on civil rights and economic equality, the majority of antiwar activity in the South on white campuses remained vague and ineffective, and failed to attract a large portion of the southern student body to its cause.