Thursday, March 02, 2006
Thanks to AE at Arse Poetica.
I'm 41. My memory begins in about 1968, just little wisps. Tell me your memories of these times and events.
I was about 14 then.
The next was in the Kennedy administration. It was the TV images of Bull Connor's men turning firehoses and letting lose dogs on Black protesters crossing a bridge. I was about 17 when that happened.
Ya know it was just 20 years ago that Orval Faubus, the governor at the time, made his last run for governor.
Read "Yellow Dogs and Dark Horses" by John Robert Starr, longtime Little Rock journalist, for a good take on Arkie politics during the era.
The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts has a new show on March 18th. The show features the Black Panther Party.
"The exhibition pairs rare artifacts—never-before-released documents, recordings, film clips and archival photos, including seminal historical photography..."
1968 was a harsh year. First was the assassination of Martin Luther King, followed by the assassination of Robert Kennedy, the turmoil of the '68 Democratic convention. All of those events are burned into my memory, especially that June evening when Kennedy was shot.
I remember George Wallace before he had his late-life "come to Jesus" repentance. In eighth grade civics class we were randomly assigned candidates to design a political campaign for; my dad was downright apoplectic that I had to do one for George Wallace who was running as an Independent.
One of Wallace's more imposing acts was in 1963 when he stood at the door at the University of Alabama in Montgomery and refused to allow two black students (with federal guards) to enroll.
His run for the presidency siphoned off Democratic votes from Hubert Humphrey and put Nixon in the White House.
Here's an event that will show you what kind of impact this era had on me: Summer of 1971, my family was on an extended vacation. We stop for the night at a cheap motel in Cairo, Ill. We need to restock the cooler, so ... my mom and I set out on foot to walk to a nearby grocery store for more lunch meat and bread. Dad and brother stayed at the motel to watch an episode of a new TV show: All in the Family. The episode where Archie is reluctant to donate blood because he's afraid a non-white person would be the recipient.
As mom and I came out of the grocery store, we were really surprised to see dad with the car at the door. Not in the parking lot, mind you. At the door. Shaking.
We get in, thinking "Man, this is unlike dad to come pick us up." He couldn't speak until we got back to the motel and saw a local news feed showing the race riot that was taking place in the neighborhood.
And then, back to Archie.
On June 26, 1962 sit-in demonstrations and a nonviolent resistance movement began in Cairo, Illinois. Demonstrations against segregation in a swimming pool, a skating rink, and other facilities continued for several months.
On the night of October 24-25, 1970 Blacks attacked the police station in Cairo, Illinois. The October attacks began the evening of the 24th shortly after a white-owned grocery store was burned. Cairo Mayor A.B. Thomas called the incident an "armed insurrection."
On May 30, 1971 three police officers were injured in a gun battle in Cairo. Mayor Thomas blamed the shootings on the United Front, a predominantly Black organization that had led a boycott of the town's White merchants. The United Front declined to comment on the incident.
Uh, I was there as a curious onlooker-student journalist.
You know later they damn up that creek and created a reservior. Hell ER, you may even be drinking its water.
The Oklahoma Historical Marker about Irvings visit was about a quater mile East of where I lived on old Rt. 66.