Tom Hayden

Stateside: A statement born from engagement

Nov 1, 2012
Cameron Stewart

With the tumult of the Vietnam War, the War on Poverty and the Civil Rights Movement came the feeling that something momentous was happening.

For Tom Hayden and his peers, there truly was.

It has been 50 years since members of Students for a Democratic Society gathered in Port Huron to produce the Port Huron Statement.

The Statement defined their vision of "participatory democracy, a calling for students to take place in liberal causes across the country."

Tom Hayden, co-author of the Port Huron Statement
user KCET Departures / Flickr

Activist Tom Hayden will be in Port Huron tonight to commemorate the Port Huron Statement.

A group of university students wrote the statement fifty years ago at a UAW retreat center north of Port Huron.

Hayden was one of the main participants, who was in his early twenties at the time.

The 25,000 word document addressed racism, poverty, the Cold War, and the nuclear arms race.

It was one of the first times there'd been a formal call-to-action for students to be part of a movement pushing for social change.

Tom Hayden, co-author of the Port Huron Statement
user KCET Departures / Flickr

A group of university students wrote the Port Huron Statement fifty years ago at a UAW retreat center, north of Port Huron. They called themselves “Students for a Democratic Society.” One of the main participants was political activist Tom Hayden, who was in his early twenties at the time.

The statement begins with these words: "We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit."