Jane Fonda at Clemson

A Speech at the Amphitheater

On November 20, 1970 the front page story published in The Tiger discussed Jane Fonda's recent visit to Clemson University. There, she largely spoke about the Vietnam war and espoused anti-war beliefs common to that period. Her speech and appearance at Clemson seems representative of the 1960's and 1970's Counterculture.

The 1960's and 1970's were a tumultuous period of social change in America. Especially on college campuses, there was a great movement by young people to change the injustices they saw in society and live more freely. For many, this meant a staunch opposition to war. The Kent State Shootings that had occurred in May of 1970 further galvanized the public against the war and military actions in general. Clemson was not immune to these events and reacted with great change. Although, there was not any significant violent event to occur on campus there was friction between the newer liberal students, conservative students, and the administration.

Into this environment came Jane Fonda's speech at the amphitheater in front of Reflection Pond. Seen speaking to a large crowd of 4,000, as claimed by the article, her focus on the ability of young people to affect social change reflects the changes that Clemson itself was going through. Its transition from a military school to a public university. Fonda's speech reflects this transition, and while there was still some resistance by students and the administration, her presence indicates a growing acceptance for the Counterculture of the time.