The Flacks

Mickey Flacks grew up with her trade union family in a co-op apartment complex built by the communist party.

Dick Flacks had a political FBI file opened on him when he was 10.

Married in 1959, they have dedicated their lives to civil justice, gender equality, community empowerment, and world peace.

From contributing to the Port Huron statement, the defining document of the Students for a Democratic Society, to today’s battles for equality, the Flacks have been on the frontlines of nearly every significant political and social battle of modern times.

In 1969, shortly after a right-wing assassination attempt nearly killed him, Dick and Mickey relocated to Santa Barbara to teach at UC Santa Barbara.

And they were right back in it. Just months after the move, student riots rocked the quiet beachside town and initiated the Flacks’ decades of local political activism to follow.

There they double-helixed the personal and the political. From cooperatively building community schools, free clinics, and slow-growth environmental councils while raising two now-grown sons in accord with their beliefs, “Dick and Mickey” continue to spring into action, whether it’s a family being separated at the border or one occupying the White House.

 UCSB emeritus professor of sociology DICK FLACKS has co-authored with his life partner MICKEY, a chronicle of their political and personal lives. As active members of the Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam War movements in the 1960s, and leaders in today’s social movements, their stories are a first-hand account of progressive American activism from the 1960s to the present. 

Throughout their memoir, Dick and Mickey demonstrate that their lifelong commitment to making history through social activism cannot be understood without returning to the deeply personal context of their family history—of growing up “red diaper babies” in 1950s New York City, using folk music as self-expression as adolescents in the 1960s, and of making blintzes for their own family through the 1970s and 1980s. As the children of immigrants and first generation Jews, Dick and Mickey crafted their own religious identity as secular Jews, created a critical space for American progressive activism through SDS, and ultimately, found themselves raising an “American” family.