Lessons for my activist granddaughter

From Robert Weiss, Grand Junction, Colorado: I remember being maced and thrown in a bus by D.C. police [on Monday, May 3] and taken to the practice field [near RFK Stadium] — being tear-gassed when people tried to push the fence down — being visited by [Rep.] Bella Abzug and Dr. Benjamin Spock — then taken to the old Washington Coliseum. [We were held] without charges until Wednesday afternoon (where we were regularly threatened by National Guard troops whenever we got rowdy, as we enjoyed our diet of water and bologna sandwiches.)

Some events need to be cleared up to counter revisionist history. (I often tell the tale of seeing obvious federal agents, in “FBI Casual Friday” dress, arrive in vans to the Washington Monument, pull down the U.S. flags on the surrounding poles, and set them ablaze for the TV cameras — this in the late afternoon of Saturday, May 9, 1970, a few days after Kent State. For that reason I would never be surprised at the presence of Agents Provocateur at demonstrations today.)

I have a granddaughter who is very active and upset with our current predicament, and has been a bit obsessed with Portland events — hope she gains perspective by comparing 1971 to today.

2 thoughts on “Lessons for my activist granddaughter”

  1. It’s notable that, while memories fade, just about every person arrested in 1971 remembers one thing 50 years later: The bologna sandwiches with rancid mayonnaise that police served in the lockups!

    • So true. I was locked up in a tiny old jail with 4 cells, along with approximately 100 others, that had been closed for almost a decade. It was disgusting, hot and small. We were all crammed together. No food, no water, no bologna sandwiches. Some people were fainting from the heat and cramped quarters but the police did not check on us at all.


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