Jun 30, 2015

People's Park (Part 2)

Telegraph Avenue & Bancroft Way, Berkeley, January 18, 1970

All photos by Clay Geerdes

The San Francisco Mime Troupe Gorilla Marching Band

The origin of People's Park in April of 1969, and the ugly response to the park from the city of Berkeley and the state of California, can be seen at People's Park (Part 1).

On Sunday, January 18, 1970, at a spot near Hearst Avenue, another attempt to create a People's Park in Berkeley was carried out by a gathering of determined citizens. It was less than a year since local authorities, with self-serving support from Governor Ronald Reagan, had used violent action (which resulted in one young man being killed and many people being injured) to crush the spirit of freedom that had inspired the first attempt in April, 1969.

Tom Dunphy as "General Waste-More-Land"

During this second attempt, which was known as "Earth Rebirth," dozens of protesters comported themselves with an undaunted air of merry defiance and were joined by members of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, along with Tom Dunphy in the laughable character of "General Waste-More-Land," a comic figure who was intended as a sharp mockery of General William Westmoreland (the hardheaded commander of American forces in Vietnam from 1964 to 1968). The new park was known first as People's Park Annex, and later was dubbed Ohlone Park, the name by which it still is known today.

Once again, Clay Geerdes and his camera were there, as evidenced by these photographs.

Next: 1960s Protest in the Bay Area (Part 1)

1 comment:

  1. I forgot all about Gen. Westmoreland as a figure in those days. What a weird time that was to be alive. Thanks for posting this. Clay has a good eye.