1969

That November was the big anti-war march in Washington DC. I drove down with fellow members of the paper. At a rest stop on the way down, some feminists occupied the men’s room because it was better than the women’s room. I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a picture. My more-hip-to-photojournalism fellow newspaper photographer and future roommate, Tim Carlson, took pictures of a woman giving us the finger from a car in the next lane. The demonstration was fascinating and peaceful, and my college newspaper PRESS card got me right next to the stage. Timothy Leary went to the mike and stood there silent. Then he said, “Too much,” and since he was a counter-culture icon, everyone cheered. Then he said, “No, wait, wait … Just enough!” and everyone really went wild.

The militant Weather Underground was there, and when the demonstration was over and people were disbanding, things started to slide violent. By nightfall, thousands of demonstrators had wended their way to outside the South Vietnamese Embassy, and suddenly a car was flipped over and set on fire. I gawped, camera around my neck, and Scott Jacobs, a reporter for the paper who got what he was up to much better than I, dragged me by the collar to the burning car and yelled, “Take pictures of this!” Then the police arrived to clear us out. Scott and I took shelter near the front door of a house, separated from the street by the front yard, but a police officer jumped the shrub and ran at us. We spluttered, “Press! Press!” but he still whacked our shins, and we jumped the shrub in the other direction and ran away. Half my film jumped out of my army surplus marine jacket pockets, and I never saw those pictures.

Once back at the Crimson office in Cambridge, we put together a double-page photo spread of the demonstration and riot that included two of the photos I hadn’t lost. The story went round that the photo editor at a major metro paper (Boston? New York?) took our spread, held it up to his staff, and yelled at them about how much better is was than what they’d produced.

 
Kelly Nowels