After I got out of jail in 1967, I set out to write a book about change. Along the way it grew into three, of which two are now finished -- this collection of journalism, and a book of theory for new education, called On Learning and Social Change. The third book, Making the Changes, will be a more intimate speculation about the nature and practice of the broad transformation our lives and our culture are undergoing. Each reflects upon the others. All are political, in that they spring from the struggle to be an active agent of social change, a conscious swimmer in the blind river of History.
This is a volume of personal journalism, spanning the decade during which we began our struggle to change Amerika. This is not a history of what came to be called the Movement, but a series of views from its perspective -- windows into time, key moments as they seemed at the time to one young man growing up through them. I wrote most of these pieces spontaneously, from the need to grasp what was happening at the edge of conflict, see it in context. Most deal with our public theater -- or demonstrations, in which we came together to show ourselves to each other and the world.
As we who were its life grew and changed, so did the Movement which was ours. And as its vision deepened and expanded, so did mine. How strange it is, to edit at thirty-one what I wrote during my twenties! Retracing a decade of Movement history, I fall into my personal well of time, meet myself as a nineteen-year-old kid trudging a picket line, starting up the years toward the future, looking for a people to belong to. Many of my reports from this quest seem naive and raw now. But I haven't materially revised or updated them. For whatever they reveal about the slow, timid growth of consciousness is more than my private story -- as the essence of our Movement is not a sequence of events, but a progression of consciousness.
[Note: Many of these pieces have introductions in italic type, for their publication in this book in 1971.]