My Father’s 1969 People’s Park Protest Photos

I was digging through my dad, August Maggy’s old photos and found these great pictures of the People’s Park protest that took place in Berkley, California 45 years ago in 1969. I don’t know who took these photos, but they’re darn cool.

But first, a little background on the People’s Park protest to lend some context to these photos:

in 1969. In the midst of an era of social upheaval when students all over the country were bucking the trends of stodgy old universities, UC Berkley in Berkley, California had some land that they had left unimproved for several years. Local merchants thought it was ugly, so they, along with some other locals turned it into a public space in the form of a park. They dubbed it “People’s Park.”

Not everybody in the country was caught up in this anti-establishment fervor. In fact, most weren’t. To them, these protests and upheavals were disrupting their every day lives. Ronald Reagan was Governor of California at the time and ran on the promise that he would reign in these “communist sympathizers, protesters, and sex deviants,” that were taking over California’s college campuses. This was his chance to make good on that promise.

So one day, he had the Alameda Police fence off the park. The people who gave their time and resources to make this happen were, obviously, a little peeved. So they protested.

Governor Regan, determined to put a stop to these “communist sympathizers, protesters, and sex deviants,” sends the National Guard down to keep order. An Arab-Israeli Conflict conference demonstration turned into a protest against the state’s actions against this park on what became known as “Bloody Thursday.” National Guardsmen and police from various jurisdictions used tear gas, batons, and riot gear to beat back the crowd who began peacefully protesting, but resorted throwing rocks and bottles after the assaults by the lawmen began.

My Dad, who was a reporter for the Berkley Gazette, was covering the story. His long hair and military surplus helmet (to protect from flying rocks, bottles, and other debris) made the police suspect he was a protester. He refused to leave on the basis that his press pass allowed him access. The police did not take kindly to this “display of defiance,” and beat him with batons.

He actually won an award from the organizers in recognition of his unbiased coverage of the incident. It was a piece of the fence mounted on a trophy stand. One of his prized possessions.

This incedent was a cluster-mess that went on at various levels of intensity for three weeks until it eventually subsided. People’s Park would, eventually, just be a park. Although these days it’s mostly inhabited by panhandlers, homeless people, and druggies; it is a testament to the “power of the people.”

So enjoy these photos. If you use them, please credit August Maggy and link back to this blog. (Click to view full size)

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Discovering Podcasts

logopodcastI am not a fan of what’s on the radio.

I can only listed to so much NPR.

I’m on a long drive and even “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” the seminal 80s pump up jam by Twisted Sister is lulling me to sleep.

What am I to do?

Enter Podcasts.

Podcasts are something that I had heard of for years, but never had bothered to check out. After all, isn’t it just some jokers in their basement with a microphone? Anyone with any talent would be on the radio.

But that, past Matthew, could not be more incorrect.

My first exposure to a Podcast was Hardcore History by Dan Carlin. He is such an amazing broadcaster and raconteur that even Tim Ferris gushed when he interviewed him for his Podcast.

It’s okay to be star struck, Tim, I would be too.

So my journey into the exciting world of Podcast listening began earlier this year. I had been back from my round the world trip for 2.5 weeks and was visiting my friends and family back West. It was time to head back to Virginia, but due to budgetary constraints, I couldn’t make quite the epic road trip I had envisioned (save for a lovely few days with my cousin Alex and his family in St. Louis) and had to do a lot of driving without stopping other than for the occasional nap at rest stops.

So I downloaded the “Wrath of the Khans” quadrillogy of the Hardcore History podcast and was blown away by the sheer detail of story telling and the obvious preparation that was required to produce just one of these episodes. I was entertained for roughly 12 hours straight by this one guy’s story of the Khan conquerors (Khanquerors?).

I was hooked.

Then I found out that many of my favorite pro wrestling personalities have their own podcasts including the entertaining “Talk is Jericho” with the Fozzy lead-singing rockstar, and legendary professional ‘rassler, “The Ayatollah of Rock and Roll-A”, Chris Jericho.

Now I look forward to his new show every Wednesday and Friday.

All I have to do is load up my phone and hit play.

I didn’t think much of old Matthew and his mistaken view about the amateurish nature of podcasts until I heard Tim Ferris interview Dan Carlin. Carlin noted that he is a former television broadcaster and radio show host, but that he prefers Podcasts. There are no censors (not that he is risque’, by any means), no one telling him what he can and can’t say, and he can focus on talking about this very narrow topic that he enjoys for 3.5 hours and there are more people listening than on mainstream radio. He calls it “narrow casting” rather than “broadcasting.”

And its more proof that as people, we aren’t beholden to whatever Clear Channel wants to cram down our throats.

I don’t know if I can stand Kesha every 4 songs, or Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, and Rachel Maddow spewing hogwash and party propaganda.

To listen, you can go directly to the Podcasts website and listen/download, or use a service such as iTunes, Stitcher, or iPP Player (that’s what I use on my Android phone, but I have no idea what it is).

You’ll notice a pattern of history and pro-wrestling here…

The ones I listen to religiously are:

“Hardcore History” – Dan Carlin’s incredible, in-depth show about history. I cannot stress enough how fantastic this show is.

“Common Sense” – Dan Carlin’s quasi-conservative populist political show.

“Talk is Jericho” Chris Jericho (WWE Pro-Wrestling Legend, and Lead Singer of Fozzy, a fairly popular metal band) talks about pro-wrestling, music, movies, pop-culture, and interviews people from these various fields. From Jake “The Snake” Roberts, to UFO experts, to his dad. Good stuff.

 “History Replays Today: The Richmond History Podcast” – Jeff Majer does a bi-weekly show where he interviews someone about the history of Richmond or issues surrounding Richmond. As a Richmond Tour Guide, I have used this as a source for information.

Occasional/Alternating Weekly Listens

The above Podcasts I listen to every new episode, no matter what. The following are ones that I check out when the topic/interviewer interests me, or I run out of other Podcasts.

“Back Story” – The American History Guys take current events and talk about the the history behind them. For example, they did an entire show on the history of Political Factions in the United States and how we ended up with our (terrible) two-party system.

“The Art of Manliness Podcast” – Bret McKay and his wife are the founders of the men’s interest and self-improvement blog “Art of Manliness” and generally covers some pretty interesting topics, although the interviewees are sometimes not the most interesting people to listen to.

“The Ross Report” – Jim Ross, the legendary Pro-Wrestling announcer gives his opinions on the industry and the product, and interviews someone from the industry.

“My History Can Beat Up Your Politics” – Bruce Carlson does kind of the same thing as Back Story, but he seems a little more cynical, which I like.

“The Tim Ferriss Show” I am a big fan of his life and body hacking books (4-HB helped me lose 50 pounds) and he has some pretty interesting topics that he covers (such as the benefits of being a Jack-of-All Trades, or Generalist) and generally gives a new perspective on things that you think you know.

“The Steve Austin Show” is WWE Legend Stone Cold Steve Austin’s Podcast which is mostly him shooting the breeze about random topics like beer, food, and anecdotes from his life followed by an interview which is usually with a Pro-Wrestling related personality, but sometimes varies. Sometimes he just answers fan questions for an hour and a half, which is also good.