Dissent in the Heartland: The Sixties at Indiana University

By Mary Ann Wynkoop | Go to book overview

Prologue

While I was interviewing people for this project, I was struck by the way that nearly all of them spoke about their time in Bloomington with a kind of loving remembrance. Of course, many graduates of other universities are nostalgic about their university community— it is not uncommon to hear people reminiscing about the special qualities of Madison or Berkeley. Bloomingtonians, however, are protective of the place, and they convey the sense that recording its history in the 1960s needs special care. When they talked about the richness of Bloomington’s music and art scene, the quiet joys of the surrounding hills and forests, or the friendly neighborliness of most of the community, I began to understand that what makes Bloomington such an unusual place is its differences from other towns and cities in the state.

Indiana’s largest city and capital, Indianapolis, is undergoing its own refurbishing, but a city whose main claim to fame is an automobile race has a long way to go in the eyes of many urban enthusiasts. The middle part of the state, raked flat by glaciers eons ago, is dotted with small farming towns. In towns located in the heavily industrialized region near Chicago, residents encounter most of the problems and not many of the benefits of urban sprawl. Bloomington is a long way from any other large cultural center. Chicago is the closest city with a nationally recognized symphony, theater, or opera, with renowned restaurants and universities, or, for that matter, with an international airport and traffic jams. The protectiveness that many people feel for Bloomington may come from its unique characteristics, its separateness from the rest of the state. Yet it is a

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