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Historical Event

Life Story Club Contributor

June 12, 2020

I remember I was in Chicago in the late 60s, early 70s and was sitting on the sand on Oak Street Beach with some friends and we were listening to the radio for the Landing on the Moon. Well you don’t take TV to the beach! It was a joyful time, everybody was happy, you know, the group of us all cheering.

And then I can tell you with Kennedy’s assassination, I was with a foreign student group in France. And all the different seed and grapes from different countries we’re going to sing a song or put on a performance that was their’s, from that time, for the other French students. While we were there getting ready. We got word of Kennedy’s assassination, so the group did not go on. But there’s one thing that stuck in my mind, which was, one of the students went, “Oh, that’s great. I’m so happy!” And that always kind of stuck in my mind, that someone would say something like that. I mean I don’t like Trump, I wish someone would kill him, but I’m not going to say I’m happy about it! It just struck me, and stuck in my mind, how could anyone say something like that?

It was during the daytime here, what is it, a six or seven hour time difference?Someone made the announcement and I remember afterwards, when I went back to my dorm room, I had a little, old transistor radio and I spent most of the night just trying to listen to the radio to get the details. It really struck me hard, because I mean, growing up in the 40s and 50s, you know, I mean, there was discontent with presidents, but nothing like that.

And to me, then that started a lot of things. In the following years, I mean it just got worse with the killing of Martin Luther King and the killing of Robert Kennedy and the riots that were going on.

I was not in Paris, I was in Dijon. But yeah, there was a lot of shock and there was a kind of a mass held at the cathedral, which brought a lot of the towns people. I went to that, yes, I was actually one of the people that suggested it! France at the time was pretty much Catholic country. It was a memorial service, it was a big cathedral, the town’s cathedral. I don’t remember too many details, not what I was wearing or who I was sitting next to, but just what was going on generally.

In the mid 60s, I guess, after the Kennedy assassination a lot of the racial riots was starting up. And in Chicago at the time was the Democratic Convention and Johnson decided not to run for another term because of the uprisings that were going on. But I remember going into Lincoln Park, where a lot of the protests were going on. If you want to be scared of a place that was it. I mean they had angry looks on their faces, they had batons, they had guns. I mean, when you think of what’s going on today…

Well, today I think there’s a lot more justice and lot more sympathy for the people than their was at that time. I would say yes, the public perception is a lot different from then, especially in the white community. I mean, it’s when you know, black power started up.

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