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September 05, 2001 - Image 36

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-05

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8B - The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Wednesday, September 5, 2001
After 110 years, Daily still center of activism, debate.

By Michael Grass
Daily Editorial Page Editor
Many of our parents know the name Al Haber.
But very few students today have ever heard of him. And
those who have probably learned the name in Prof. Matthew
Lassiter's history of the 1960s course.
Haber was the first president of Students for a Democratic

Society - one of the most famous
national student activists groups from the
Haber is still around Ann Arbor, work-
ing as a carpenter. Although the issues
have changed, Haber is still active. He's
involved in the Interfaith Center for Peace
and Justice.
We all know that Ann Arbor was a
hotbed of student activism in the 1960s.
Organizations, like the SDS, fed off the
highly-political environment in Ann
Arbor. They flourished and spread across
the nation.
Haber at one time lived in an apartment
above Cottage Inn on East William Street,
right behind 420 Maynard St. - the
home of The Michigan Daily.

The Michi
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The political debates and discussions that played out in the
Daily's library would echo across the nation in later years.
Although the Daily was by no means the quintessential
birthplace of student activism, it definitely has played a sig-
nificant role in developing the political atmosphere that Ann
Arbor is known for.
The goal to get to the heart of an issue has driven many
people who have passed through the doors at 420 Maynard
St. Add in a little youthful ambition and
journalistic passion and it's easy to see
' ': why the Daily has been just about every-
4 where and has tackled just about every
L>O1ON; A Daily reporter traveled to Bombay,
India to interview Mahatma.Gandhi in
1924. Another reporter posed as a Little
Rock Central High School student and
was the only journalist to report from
sports Center inside the high school when it was
Is activiat forcibly integrated.
{t<on The first journalists arrested in Cas-
m ?xn tro's Cuba were - you guessed it -
f t}< from the Daily.
The Daily was the first newspaper to
report that Jonas Salk's polio vaccine was
a success. Salk made the announcement in Rackham Audito-
rium in 1955 and the news of the success was phoned into
420 Maynard St. from Rackham's lobby. While vaccine
researchers were finishing their press conference, a special
section went to press and was distributed as the audience left
the building.
While many administrators have hated the Daily, the stu-
dents at 420 Maynard St. even managed to rub the Kremlin
the wrong way. In 1952, representatives from the Soviet
Union chastised the Daily in front of a United Nations com-
mittee at U.N. headquarters, calling the newspaper a "war-
monger." (A Daily writer had written a satirical article that
poked fun of the USSR).

University President Robben Fleming speaks to the Daily's staff in 1969 in the barrel-vaulted newsroom at 420 Maynard St.
Fleming was the first University president in 20 years to meet with the entire staff. The newspaper has often been a thom in
the side of the University administration.

Haber told me over breakfast this April that on this very
political campus, for a lively debate, all he had to do was
walk out his back door, across the parking lot and upstairs to
The Michigan Daily library. While he never worked for the
Daily, Haber said 420 Maynard St. served as a nexus for dis-
cussion of progressive issues for active students on campus.
One name most of our parents will recognize, Tom Hay-
den, got his start at the Daily. He was a campus leader and
took his ideas and activism to the national arena. Hayden is
most famous for organizing the massive protest of the
Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968 later to
be put on trial as part of the Chicago 7.

The legacies of the Daily's progressive roots still influ-
ences the newspaper today. Today, the Daily editorially is
one of the most progressive newspapers among the top col-
lege daily newspapers. While many college papers live in
fear of censorship from their administration, the Daily is
financially independent, making the newspaper editorially
free to discuss and probe into just about everything.
From marijuana decriminalization to the University's disci-
pline policies and from the freedom for a woman to have the
right to choose to state higher education funding, that Daily is
rarely afraid to tackle an issue. Although bricks have been

thrown through the windows of 420 Maynard St. and editors
have been burned in effigy in the Diag, the Daily has remained
one of the most important institutions on campus.
Some of the nation's finest journalists have come out o
the Daily, including many Pulitzer Prize winners. At just
about every newspaper in the nation, a Daily alum will be
there - from Daniel Okrent, editor at large for Time Inc. to
Ann Marie Lipinski, editor of the Chicago Tribune.
After 110 years, the Daily will always remain Ann Arbor's
primary source for campus news and also as a forum for
ideas to be eWhanged and discussed.

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And isn't that worth something?
Our hearts, our minds, and our doors
are always open.
First United Methodist Church

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306 N. Division Ann Arbor, MI 48104
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website: www.standrewsaa.org

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