1967 — April 15 Spring Mobilization to End The War in Vietnam

Background

 

“The Spring Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam was organized on November 26, 1966, to sponsor antiwar demonstrations in the spring of 1967. Veteran peace activist A. J. Muste was chairman of the group, and its four vice chairmen were David Dellinger, editor of Liberation; Edward Keating, publisher of Ramparts; Sidney Peck, a professor at Case Western Reserve University; and Robert Greenblatt, a professor at Cornell University. In January 1967, they named the Reverend James Luther Bevel, a close colleague of Martin Luther King, Jr., as director of the Spring Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam

 

During the next four months, they prepared for mass demonstrations, one scheduled for New York City, and the other for San Francisco. On April 15, 1967, the demonstrations took place. More than 125,000 people marched in New York City against the war — including Martin Luther King, Jr., James Luther Bevel, and Benjamin Spock — and another 60,000 marched in San Francisco. winding up at a rally at the 49ers' Kezar Stadium. Up to its time, the Spring Mobilization was the largest antiwar demonstration in U.S. history. From http://www.vietnamwar.net/SpringMobilization.htm.  

 

A personal account by Kipp Dawson, organizer of the San Francisco Mobilization and Kezar Stadium speaker

 

"I was helping to greet speakers and arrange the stage. I was the 'executive director' of that action on the west coast, working with Dave DellingerJames Bevel (whom Martin Luther King’s organization had sent to help us organize once King had agreed to participate, and as King was preparing for his historic “Beyond Vietnam” speech), along with many, many others. That day was a turning point for the anti-war movement — our first big demonstrations. King’s support certainly was pivotal. The movement had been growing quickly and strongly since the 1965 teach-ins against the war. But none of us, on either coast, had any idea how huge the turnout would be that day.

I opened the rally, speaking into a mike from the center of that stadium. In addition to welcoming the huge assembly, I focused my brief remarks on saluting the then-nascent anti-war movement developing among active-duty GIs — to which the football stadium-filled crowd responded with a mighty roar that I can still hear. On that stage, I sat somewhere between Coretta Scott King and Judy Collins, one of the first singers to publicly oppose the war.

The media coverage was quite horrible. In fact, in a front page article in the Sunday San Francisco Examiner the week before the march, Joan Baez was quoted calling on people not to go the march, as it was not a real peace demonstration, but a cover for communist support of the Viet Cong. In my opinion, Joan Baez has done so much to more than make up for that mistake she made back then.

As the huge turnout for the April 15, 1967, demonstrations illustrated, our movement was on the upswing, but still being harassed in a witch-hunt — a desperate attempt to stop the history we were making across this country and around the world.

Today, when the latest brood of anti-human scum attempt to intimidate and block the young justice fighters, it is important that they know about the previous generations who also prevailed over ignorance and fear--Just as my generation took courage from those in whose footsteps we followed. The Standing Rock/Water is Life and Black Lives Matter leaders show us the strength we can get from those whose battles paved the way for us over generations and centuries. "We are the history and the future. We need to know the past as we build for the future, both of which are grounded in a vision which feeds us and binds us together, and makes our lives rich." From the online Zinn Education Project--Teaching People's History.

 

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Marchers on their way to Kezar Stadium.  At Kezar the crowd reached a peak of 60,000

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The head of the march.  The banner represents, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 1570, UC Berkeley.

AFT Local 1570 represented T.A.s and Faculty at UC Berkeley.

Protesters on a big truck — a less stressful way to make the journey to Kezar Stadium.

More riders on the truck,

Kids make cool signs.

IDemonstrators break out the umbrellas.