A Guide to the Students for a Democratic Society Records, 1962-1978
The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) formed in 1960 out of the Student League for Industrial Democracy. The New Left organization championed civil rights for African Americans, Mexicans, and other minority groups as well as social-political reforms, including public welfare programs and workers’ rights. It protested the war in Vietnam, racial discrimination, and anti-communism. In 1962, the SDS held its first national convention and drafted the Port Huron Statement, which outlined their motivation and goals, advocating nonviolent civil disobedience and uniting forces with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. The next year, six official university chapters and several unofficial chapters, including University of Texas at Austin, had formed.
The Austin chapter focused on local Texas political and social issues. These included the Board of Regents’ controversial policies against the SDS and similar organizations under Frank Erwin’s chairmanship, labor strikes and newspapers to represent workers’ rights and opinions, and protests against discriminatory sentencing practices and restrictions on people’s First Amendment rights.
In the late 1960s, the SDS split into several factions, including the Revolutionary Youth Movement and the Worker Student Alliance. However, most SDS chapters dissolved by the mid-1970s, not to appear again until the early 21st century.
Sale, Kirkpatrick. SDS. New York: Vintage Books, 1973.
The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) Records, 1962-1978, contains original flyers and an article, as well as photocopies of meeting reports, UT press releases, correspondence and memoranda by UT staff (including Harry Ransom), and newspaper clippings. Materials pertain to the activities, including protests and meetings, of the SDS and associated student organizations.
This collection is open for research use.
Students for a Democratic Society Records, 1962-1978, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Subsequent revisions were made by Laurel Rozema, July 2010 and Stefanie Lapka, November 2013.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers