Mario Savio, Activist, Educator

“The Free Speech Movement shaped Mario at least as much as he shaped it. Ours was a movement of collective strength, of a fledgling wisdom nurtured in each other. The media—in its rush toward idolatry—has never understood this. Mario would also be the first to tell you that it was the Black students in SNCC, the Black sharecroppers in Mississippi, the Black women like Fannie Lou Hamer that moved him so, and that inspired the white students of our generation to push ourselves up and out into our own humanity. But much of the press continues to mount him as the icon of student activism, thereby once again erasing the suffering, the poverty and the racism against which he so courageously and selflessly struggled his entire life.” Comment made at Mario’s memorial in 1996 by Bettina Aptheker, Free Speech activist and longtime friend of Savio.

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