Friends recall Hayden as activist behind historic document

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

NEW YORK (AP) — When news broke that the well-known activist Tom Hayden had died, classmates and fellow activists at the University of Michigan thought of the impassioned and eloquent student who more than anyone shaped a signature document of the 1960s: the Port Huron Statement.

"He exhibited this capacity to put a name on things and invoke the possibility of changing the world," author Todd Gitlin says.

Completed in 1962, the Port Huron Statement was the manifesto of the Students for a Democratic Society, one of the leading youth groups and representatives of the New Left for much of the decade. A 25,000-word rejection of the so-called silent generation of the 1950s, the statement captured the hope and anxiety of the new decade, the awareness of material comfort and the distress over a society the students viewed as complacent, unjust and misguided.