Interview with Tom Hayden
QUESTION 1
INTERVIEWER:

WHO WAS TOM HAYDEN IN ‘61, THE STUDENT AT MICHIGAN, TELL ME ABOUT HIM, TELL ME THE THINGS HE WAS CONCERNED ABOUT.

Tom Hayden:

Well I was uh, one of the students in the last great uh, age of apathy on the campuses in the late 1950s and uh, I was an idealist with uh, nowhere to go, with no outlet that I knew of. Uh, I therefore was a student editor, I was, I wanted to be a journalist, I wanted to cover uh, issues and world affairs. And uh, several things happened uh, that I guess made me put down my pencil and, and become an activist. One was the, uh, uh, simply the, the uh, arrival of John F. Kennedy and his presidency. Uh, I became involved in the first group to advocate the Peace Corps in Ann Arbor, uh, and candidate John Kennedy listened. He legitimized the idea that youth had a role to play in history which is very important. But uh, I think far more fundamental uh, in shaping my attitudes was the emergence of students, primarily of course black students in the South who were uh, marching, uh, getting beaten, uh, getting arrested for what they believed. And uh, I believed in civil rights but it was not the issue that attracted me, it was the commitment, it was the uh, sense of taking their lives in their hands that made me wonder what I was doing uh, uh, being neutral and, and made me look more deeply into what I ought to be doing. And, and become an activist.