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People's Park: Resources from The Bancroft Library

Introduction

A drawing of 4 people planting a tree, their stance reminiscent of the Iwo Jima raising the flag image from WWII. Below their feet is written People's Park.People's Park, a hotly contested 2.8-acre plot of land owned by the University of California. Efforts are currently underway to convert this property into student housing, erasing a unique communal green space that has clung to existence since 1969.

An embodiment of the counterculture protest spirit of the 60's, the Park was built by organic spontaneous community advocacy. Students, activists, and local residents banded together, driven by the desire to create something beautiful, useful, and accessible by all. The Park's existence defied the encroaching sprawl of the campus, bringing to light societal inequities and the loss of green spaces in urban areas. It challenged perceptions of the nature and purpose of public space, land use, and ownership.

The People's Park controversy emerged right on the heels of the Free Speech Movement and the Third World Liberation Strike on the UC Berkeley campus. The power and authority of campus officials were already under threat, and their response to this new conflict was harsh and uncompromising. Law enforcement countered the unrest with excessive use of force, liberal use of tear gas, mass arrests, and excessive bail fees. In the ensuing years, campus officials have continued their heavy-handed oversight of the space and its future, perpetuating a vicious cycle of community outrage and aggressive crackdowns.

Image citation: Cover of Green Flag, 308h.P42.G79, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

About this Libguide

This LibGuide is not intended to be a comprehensive listing of all collections at The Bancroft Library on the People's Park controversy. Rather, it highlights a variety of materials that have proven useful in class instruction at UC Berkeley and independent research. Included are searching tips and tricks to navigate UC Library Search (the library catalog) and Online Archive of California (the finding aid repository) to find related materials. While the focus of this LibGuide is on primary sources, The Bancroft Library also contains a plethora of secondary sources and recent publications.

The Bancroft Library is the primary special collections library at the University of California, Berkeley. Materials at The Bancroft Library are non-circulating and must be used in the on-site Reading Room. All those wishing to use Bancroft materials must register as researchers. Registration is free and takes just a few minutes online using the Aeon system. For information on using The Bancroft Library, please visit the Visiting The Bancroft Library LibGuide.

For further resources on other related campus protest movements, please visit the UC Berkeley section of the Politics and Protest LibGuide.

To see full-sized images throughout this LibGuide
Firefox: Right-click on image and select View Image
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For those using screen readers, descriptive text of photographs and full transcripts of protest flyers are included.


This LibGuide was compiled by Lee Anne Titangos, Instruction Specialist at The Bancroft Library.

Special thanks to:
    Corliss Lee, Instruction Librarian and Program Coordinator at the Doe Library
    Kathi Neal, University Archivist at The Bancroft Library
    José Aguiñaga, Professor at San José State University
    Leigh Gleason, Professor at San José State University

Sources Consulted

Please note: The list below does not follow any particular citation method, but is instead formatted to ensure findability in the Bancroft collections

Archives

Chronology of events surrounding acquisition and use of Haste-Bowditch-Dwight Property, Berkeley [up to July 14, 1969]. 1969. Records of the Office of the Chancellor, University of California, Berkeley.
     Call number: CU-149, Box 58, Folder 9

Chronology of events surrounding acquisition and use of Haste-Bowditch-Dwight Property, Berkeley [up to June 2, 1969]. 1969. People's Park material assembled by the Center for Research and Development in Higher Education.
     Call number: CU-310.3, Box 1, Folder 29

[Summary of the People’s Park controversy compiled by an ad hoc committee of students affiliated with the Associated Students of the University of California]. 1969. Records of the Office of the Chancellor, University of California, Berkeley.
     Call number: CU-149, Box 59, Folder 1

Building a People's Park. 1969. People's Park material assembled by the Center for Research and Development in Higher Education.
     Call number: CU-310.3, Box 1, Folder 10

The “People’s Park”: A report on a confrontation at Berkeley, California. 1969. People's Park material assembled by the Center for Research and Development in Higher Education.
     Call number: CU-310.3, Box 1, Folder 32

Books

Dalzell, Tom. The Battle for People's Park, Berkeley 1969. Berkeley: Heyday, 2019.
     Call number: f F869.B5 D349 2019

Compost, Terri. People's Park, Still Blooming. Berkeley: Slingshot Collective, 2009.
     Call number: f F869.B5 P46 2009

Glick, Stanley Irwin. "The People's Park." PhD Thesis, State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1984.
     Call number: F869.B5 G641 1984

Cash, Jon David. "People's Park: Birth and Survival." California History. v. 88, no.1 (January 2010): 8-55.
     Call number: F856 .C257 v.88

Land Acknowledgement

The author of this LibGuide recognizes that UC Berkeley sits on the territory of xučyun (Huichin), the ancestral and unceded land of the Chochenyo speaking Ohlone people. Please visit Ohlone Land for further info.