Personal Narratives about Mayday

Miles Z. Archer (webmaster@BRIGHT-IDEA.COM)
Thu, 16 Jan 1997 22:03:46 -0500

This request was first posted on the list 11/22/96. I was
amazed/disappointed that I only received two replies, neither of which
provided the first-hand accounts which I am looking for. It seems
incredible to me that out of all the 60's activists on the list, and
their old comrades, no one was at this demonstration.

Accordingly, I'm giving this one more shot.

If you can help with the request provided below, or know of anyone who
can, you help would be greatly appreciated.

SUBJECT: May Day, Washington, D.C., May 1-5, 1971.

NEED: First-hand, personal experiences from those who were there and
organizers of the action.

PURPOSE: Resource information for a work of historical fiction.

REPLY: I really could use your collective help. Like they say, "If you
remember the 60's -- you weren't there." We'll I was there all right,
as my failing memory attests. Please give this some thought and some
time. Reply to:

The most militant, non-violent, nationally organized, anti-Viet Nam War
protest took place in Washington, D.C., May 1-5, 1971. The action was
called May Day. May Day grew out of "The Ann Arbor Student and Youth
Conference on a People's Peace" and was organized by the Mayday

In brief, the goal of the action was to halt business as usual, in the
nation's capital, by disrupting it with nonviolent civil disobedience --
stopping and stalling the flow of automobile traffic being the main

As it was organized, people were to gather at Rock Creek Park (renamed
Algonquin Peace City) on SATURDAY MAY 1 for a, "Peace Treaty Celebration
Rock Show"; and for those who were going to camp there to settle-in.
SUNDAY, MAY 2, was an SCLC action and more Rock Creek Park. (On one of
these two days, the 1st (?), or the 2nd (?), the police closed the park
and threw everyone out.) MONDAY and TUESDAY, MAY 3rd and 4th were days
of nonviolent civil disobedience with the gaol of shuting down D.C. by
jamming up 21 targeted sites. WEDNESDAY, May 5th was the day to lay
siege to the Capital Building.

I am looking for remembrances, recollections, and accounts of personal
experiences -- especially in the following areas (please be descriptive
and paint as full of an image as you can):

A. Assembling in your home town for the bus ride, and the trip itself.
What was the mood? What were people feeling, talking about, singing,
smoking? Who were the leaders (not names, descriptions)? Did you
break-down into affinity groups/cadres, or plan your civil disobedience
in any way?

B. Arrival in D.C.? Where you were housed? How did things go? What
was the mood and what were people doing and thinking?

C. Rock Creek Park/Algonquin Peace City on Saturday and/or Sunday? What
was going on? Did you run into Abbie or Jerry? What bands played?
What were your experiences there? What was the collective mood? What
happened when the cops kicked everyone out? When did that happen and
where did you go? How much time did you and your group devote to
planning the action at your target area for Monday morning.

you at (see list below)? What time did you get there? What was the
mood? What happened? Did your group stop, or delay the flow of
traffic? Was the action at all successful? What tactics were used by
your group? What were the police responses? Was there violence? Were
there arrests? What happened to those arrested?

E. What else sticks in your mind? What personal confrontations did you
have with ordinary people? Were there "fox-hole" romances among your
group? What was the mood leaving D.C.? What else do you remember?

Site 1. Rosslyn Plaza (the Virgina side of the F.S. Key Bridge).
Site 2. The D.C. side of the F.S. Key Bridge.
Site 3. Access to the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge (from the Virgina side).
Site 4. The D.C. side of the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge.
Site 5. Arlington Bridge from the Virgina side.
Site 6. Arlington Bridge from the D.C. side.
Site 7. Washington Blvd. (access road to the Pentagon).
Site 8. The loop just west of the Pentagon.
Site 9. Shirley Highway (south of Pentagon).
Site 10. Rochambeau Bridge.
Site 11. George Mason Bridge.
Site 12. The D.C. side of the 14th Street Bridge.
Site 13. Washington Circle.
Site 14. DuPont Circle.
Site 15. Scott Circle.
Site 16. Thomas Circle.
Site 17. Mt. Vernon Square.
Site 18. The Commodore Intersection (near Union Station).
Site 19. Stanton Park (east of Senate Office Bldg.).
Site 20. Seward Square.
Site 21. Folger Park.

I will very much appreciate all of your replies.
Thank you.
Miles Archer
(I was with the New Haven, CT contingent at DuPont Circle. I didn't get
busted, nor did I do much stopping of business as usual.)