Honey, pack up the kids and let’s go see some Michigan history! State Historical Commission declares the birthplace of 1960s radical movement “official historical site”.

I mean, what could make for a more fascinating stop on the next family vacation than the spot where The Port Huron Statement was created and signed?

A Michigan union camp where 1960s radical students signed their manifesto will be recognized as an official historical site, in a development critics say lends unwarranted legitimacy to a movement that was linked to violence and anti-Americanism. 

MLive reports:

In June 1962, college students met at a United Auto Workers camp in St. Clair County to fashion a manifesto calling for a “truly democratic” society. The resulting “Port Huron Statement” is considered a catalyst for the counter-culture student movement around the U.S. in the 1960s.

So what is this “Port Huron Statement”?

The “Port Huron Statement,” a 25,700-word document written by one-time University of Michigan student and future California lawmaker Tom Hayden, was signed at a United Auto Workers camp near Port Huron in 1962. But even though the mission statement for the left-wing group Students for a Democratic Society blasted the U.S. and helped spawn a sometimes violent student movement, state officials say it is part of history.

And when we take our kiddos to see this “historical” site, what will they learn? Let’s read some of the text from the Historical Marker:

“From June 11 to 15, 1962, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) delegates met near this spot to debate and approve what would become The Port Huron Statement. At the time, this was a United Automobile Workers retreat called FDR Camp. After a December 1961 meeting, held at the University of Michigan, SDS decided to build a student movement with a manifesto that provided a “truly democratic alternative to the present.” Using an original draft by Tom Hayden, about sixty students, working in groups, reviewed and debated each section. The statement was the catalyst for the student movement that changed America in the 1960s. Some 60,000 copies had been printed by 1966.”

Well gosh, a “truly democratic alternative” sounds like an awfully good thing!  Nevertheless, Ashley Pratte, spokeswoman for Young America’s Foundation, a conservative group of students and young professionals that drafted its own statement in 1960 told FoxNews.com:

“It is bewildering that the state of Michigan would waste taxpayer dollars celebrating a failed, totalitarian-oriented ideology. The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was a radical group that was eager to salute their Eastern bloc comrades as no threat to freedom. [But] what we know now reinforces how radical and ill-informed SDS was. Not to mention that their domestic policy gave us a blueprint that led to modern day Detroit.”

One Ms. Sandra Clarke, mouthpiece for the Michigan Historical Commission, justifies this away:

“Part of the job of the Michigan Historical Commission is not to provide monuments, but ways to tell stories about our state that are of significance and the marker at Port Huron falls under that. People seem to understand that’s the case and are okay with it.”

Yeah, they’re “okay with it”? Exactly how many normal Michiganders got a chance to say whether or not they were “okay with it,” I wonder.

Actually, the intention is probably to shunt school children past the marker when their parents are unaware that they are being “educated” to appreciate this glorious part of our past, the formation of the SDS, which later split into several groups, including Tom Ayers’ Weather Underground Organization.

Hey, I don’t think the state Historical Society has erected a monument to the Weathermen in my former hometown of Ann Arbor yet!  And with all those bombings for the cause of progressivism!

Get right on that, won’t you Ms. Sandra Clarke?


3 thoughts on “Honey, pack up the kids and let’s go see some Michigan history! State Historical Commission declares the birthplace of 1960s radical movement “official historical site”.

  1. You should consider that this is already doing what it should be doing. Getting people to talk about history. Until I read this, I thought it all started at Berkeley in 1966 with Mario Savio..I had no idea that the Students for a Democratic Society started in 1962. The next question is, why?


  2. It’s not that only happy moments in history should be commemorated; tragedies can and should as well. But is that what the Michigan Historical Society is faithfully doing there?

    So let’s consider the idea that what the MHS is doing isn’t so much honoring the SDS and just faithfully reporting history. Is that a valid interpretation?

    Well, I will accept that interpretation when the MHS decides to honor other notorious bombers such as Timothy McVeigh and Ted Kaczynski with Michigan connections the way they are honoring the Weatherman (a splinter group of the SDS implicated in a number of bombings).

    But we all know they aren’t going to do that (as well they shouldn’t, by the way). That is because the Weathermen’s most famous member, Bill Ayers, instead of being executed or jailed, has been given academic tenure at a university and is feted by liberal society. Ayers, McVeigh, and Kaczynski all engaged in violence and evil, but only Ayers had the correct progressive politics. Hence life is rosy for him and his fellow SDS members (Tom Hayden married Jane Fonda and has had a successful career in politics, for example) and the MHS honors their beginnings.


  3. While it’s only tangential to the discussion, where did the State get the money to do this?
    While living in Californis, its First Theater was shut down because there was no money for maintenence or upgrades. Money went elsewhere but, the Theater charged admission and could have repaid.
    This is getting curiouser.


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