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Slide show: Revolution’s Wallpaper

February 8, 2008

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Story by
Cindy Foss. Slide show by Bryce Richter.

“They were very turbulent years, and it was right in our faces at the UW,” says Jim Huberty, who was a political science student at the University of Wisconsin — the Midwest epicenter of anti-war activity — during the Vietnam War era of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Photo of Huberty

Jim Huberty earned a bachelor’s degree in 1971 and a master’s degree in 1974 from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. A Madison resident, today Huberty volunteers to speak to area high school classes, carefully balancing the content of his presentations, yet encouraging students to discuss the role of dissent and critical thinking in society.

Photo: Bryce Richter

Campus was abuzz with events meant to bring people together to learn, share opinions and debate. Yet, Web pages, cell phones and e-mail didn’t exist, so event organizers relied fully on word of mouth and paper to attract participants. Huberty collected that paper communication, which ranged from posters to leaflets to photographs to alternative newspapers. Once tacked to campus kiosks and hallway bulletin boards, the pieces form his astoundingly vast collection.

Select pieces of the collection are displayed through March 11 in an exhibit, “Revolution’s Wallpaper,” in the Class of 1925 Gallery at Memorial Union, 800 Langdon St., on the UW–Madison campus.

For those who were on campus during the Vietnam years, these sample posters from the collection provide a jolting step back in time. For those who were elsewhere or not yet born, they offer a glimpse into a campus at war about a war.