Skip to main content

View Diary: * New Day * - Will Kossacks get arrested today? Have you ever been arrested? Done time? (288 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Chicago, 1968, Democratic National Convention (12+ / 0-)

    I was arrested on Thursday night, a naive 23-year-old mother of two toddlers who were back in North Dakota with their Dad. I remember well that when the demonstrators chanted "Free Huey" I had no idea what they were saying but thought they were calling for the release of Truong Dinh Dzu, a Vietnamese politician who had been jailed there after the sham election putting a US puppet in the presidency.  "Free Dzu," is what I heard them say in my total ignorance of US racial politics.

    Wednesday had been the night of the police riot which horrified many of us seeing it on television at the convention hall; I was an alternate delegate from North Dakota. The New York and California delegations organized a post-session candlelight march that ended in Grant Park where a relatively drunk Norman Mailer challenged the delegates to come back on Thursday and stand with the demonstrators who had been subjected to police abuse earlier that evening. He asserted that the police would never tear gas delegates to the convention and we should be there to protect those who had been gassed the night before.

    On Thursday (during HHH's acceptance speech) about seventy convention badge wearers were placed at the head of a march down Michigan Avenue headed to Dick Gregory's house for a barbecue. (Actually we walked three abreast on the sidewalk as police walked three abreast next to us just off the curb.) Gregory led the way but at Michigan and 16th, the police stopped us, said they couldn't let us go further because they couldn't guarantee our protection once we entered the heart of Chicago's south side. (We were expected to be frightened by the dangerous black people who lived there.) It was a calm and systematic process.  Each of us approached a police lieutenant who asked, "Do you understand that if you go further you will be subject to arrest?"  To which we answered, "Yes." Then, "Do you still wish to go forward?"  "Yes." We stepped off the curb, one by one, a police officer, one on each side took hold of our elbows and shepherded us to waiting paddy wagons. I rode to the State Street station with Dick Gregory, NY Post columnist Murray Kempton, and then liberal Lutheran minister, (later conservative Catholic priest) Richard Newhouse.

    The courts were operating around the clock to process these arrests and volunteer lawyers were there to represent us. We were charged with "Failure to disperse upon orders of an officer." I was released on my own recognizance at about 2 a.m. having no idea where I was in the City and with no one anywhere wiling to help. I was able to see the sky lit in the distance, cloudy with tear gas, so I walked toward that light and soon found myself in Grant Park again.

    As it happened, the police had stopped with the arrests as soon as they were certain that anyone with a convention badge was out of the way and then they had used gas to move the remaining marchers (there were about 2,000), back to the park. The strip search and powerful matrons were the least pleasant part of the experience, standing outside the State Street station at 2 a.m. having no idea where I was was probably the scariest part. Months later, some returned to fight the charges, my own just hung there forever, I guess.

    The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. Jane Addams

    by Alice Olson on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 11:26:59 AM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site