Saturday, April 15, 2017

April 15, 1967 - April 15, 2017

April 15, 2017: Fifty years ago today, around 8 in the morning, I was standing in the middle of Central Park's Sheep Meadow.  It was an overcast day and the forecast was for rain. I was carrying a bunch of camera equipment; I remember being mildly concerned about keeping it all dry if it started raining.  As it happened the rain held off until mid-afternoon; by then more than a quarter of a million people would have assembled in the park and marched the several miles to the United Nations to protest the war in Vietnam.

 I had volunteered to 'coordinate' a group of photographers to photograph the march.  We scheduled a meeting and expected a dozen or so; over a hundred photographers showed up that evening.  On the morning of April 15th, we had everybody assigned to cover different parts of the march.  Many professionals who could not be there had responded with contributions of cash, film and use of their darkrooms to develop the shots.  Richard Avedon was teaching a master class and assigned his students to photograph the event. 

One strong memory of that morning was watching the Sheep Meadow fill and realizing that this was going to be lots bigger than we expected. And things started happening early.  One young man burned his draft card; more joined.  Suddenly a hundred more were setting the small white cards on fire. 

 When the march began, Dr. Martin Luther King and Dr. Benjamin Spock lead the way.  Pete Seegar sang.  It would take more than 7 hours for the last marcher to reach the UN Plaza. 

I had forgotten that today was the anniversary of that march. As I recall,  I am pretty sure I managed to keep my cameras dry. Fifty years later and a few snapshots to share:

One Personal Footnote: The following day, Sunday, April 17th, the New York Times
 had a short article and a single photo of the event. 
 Somehow I managed to save that clipping all these years. 
The newsprint is yellow and faded, but see, that really is me 
getting a hell of a better shot of the draft card burning!

Just saying.


Later The Same Day 50 Years Later: 
"Trumpie Tax Day Demo"
 Bryant Park
 "Show Us Your Tax Returns"  

and him:

No comments: