Merging of Messages, Proliferation of Protest (May 2, 1968)


“I remember a year ago, when the march began in the Sheep Meadow, and the people walked through the midtown streets until they came to the plaza of the United Nations to hear the man they now mourn repeat as a litany, ‘Stop the Bombing!’ Last Saturday, half a world away, the bombs still fell on the rutted earth of Vietnam, and the people came back to the Sheep Meadow, now to hear the widow of Martin Luther King speak of the road ahead. ‘My husband always saw the problem of racism and poverty at home and militarism abroad as two sides of the same coin,’ she said. ‘The inter-relatedness of domestic and foreign affairs is no longer questioned. The bombs we drop on the people of Vietnam continue to explode at home with all the devastating potential.’ The mood of the demonstration this April was confident yet cautious. There was not the same exhilaration in finding many thousands of people of like minds together, for it was no surprise. In 12 months peace had become popular. Lyndon Johnson had an­nounced his retirement, and pow­erful candidates were campaign­ing for peace. Now the Mayor greeted the march, and reiterat­ed his call for an end to the war. Finally there seemed to be light at the end of the tunnel. So encouraged, 90,000 people came to the Sheep Meadow last Saturday to press for final resolution. … Helicopters circled noisily overhead as the two massive feeder marches poured into Central Park and filled the 12-acre Sheep Meadow as a diverted river might create a lake. More than 120 groups were represented at the march: veterans, draft resisters, religious groups, the black community, the Puerto Rican community, women’s groups, labor groups, professional groups, and a mammoth contingent of high school and college students, primed for the occasion by a national student strike against the war on Friday. The marchers remained in the Sheep Meadow for more than three hours, to hear more than 20 speakers and en­tertainers from the platform built on the hill on the south side of the Meadow. Although a separate group, the Coalition for an Anti-Imperialist March, which split with the Fifth Avenue Peace Parade Committee in protest over Mayor Lindsay’s appearance at the demonstration, encountered police violence at Washington Square, the Sheep Meadow rally was not marred by serious violence. There were, however, several incidents involving a group of pro-war youths who infiltrated the march. …”
Voice

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Black Power, Chicano, Feminist, Lyn. Johnson, Pacifist, Religion and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s