Billy-clubbed in the shin

From Beatrice Van Horne, Corvallis, Oregon: I send my deepest thanks for all the research you have done on this subject. I have told my own story for many years but it has felt like I was relating a visitation by a UFO. It is great to have it validated.

I was with a contingent from Oberlin College. We drove straight out from Ohio in the back of a long-bed U Haul with bales of hay and about 70 students. Spent the night in Bethesda at someone’s parents’ house. We had trained and prepared to block traffic on Roosevelt Bridge and get arrested. In the early morning we piled back into the U Haul and drove toward our site. We began to smell tear gas and the truck came to a stop. Back doors were flung open and maybe a dozen uniformed men were standing in a formation pulling people out and beating them up with billy clubs. I was cracked in the shin—tissue split to the bone and probably a greenstick fracture. We were nowhere near the bridge and just scattered and ran. Someone said we were in Georgetown. There were no cars parked on the streets and the houses were all closed up. There were no back yards and we kept coming to dead ends with nowhere to go. Helicopters were passing overhead and every time more than two people got together two police cars would race up and disgorge uniformed men, who would club anyone they could grab. My friend and I finally made our way out of the neighborhood and hitchhiked back to Oberlin. We learned that the U Haul had been taken, but found “down by the river.” It wouldn’t run—the condenser had been removed.

I have always wondered who those men were. We knew there were infiltrators in the organizing group at Oberlin, but it was a bit of a surprise to realize how far ahead of us the government was. There were reports of the mass arrests but I never felt that anyone understood the extent of the government actions that took place outside of any legal authorization.

1 thought on “Billy-clubbed in the shin”

  1. I hitchhiked to DC from Ohio U and experienced some of this sense of “no one understands what we went through” …. Like you I was in the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge assignment. I have written a few blog posts in recent years in an effort to connect with others who were there. MayDay 1971–Correcting the Narrative.
    Someone left a comment that directed me here and I have ordered the book for Christmas present to myself.
    Thanks for sharing.


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