Mounted police on street, San Francisco State College strike, 1968-1969

About This Item

Identifier
UARC_0283
Creator
Schmitt, Terry
San Francisco (Calif.)
Photographic prints
Date Created
1968 December 9
Type
image
Physical Description
8 x 10 in. b&w photograph
Institution
University Archives, J. Paul Leonard Library, San Francisco State University
Country of Creation
US
Copyright Status
Copyrighted
Copyright Statement
Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Copyright Holder
Schmitt, Terry
Language
eng
Item/Call Number
University Archives, SF State Strike Collection, SFSU Photo Binder 20: 1989.4.03
Views
207

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Comments

I was there that day. I had just left the old BioScience building and was headed toward the library, using the walkway on the east side of the quad. We all knew about the protest demonstrations. They had been going on for quite a while and were becoming a bore, particularly for those of us in the physics, chemistry, biology and music departments. However, my boredom came to an abrupt end when I found the walkway lined on one side by a skirmish line of mounted police! As an army vet I can speak with some limited authority when I say that second to an approaching tank, the most frightening thing to one on foot is being in close proximity to a line of horses with helmeted riders armed with firearms and billy clubs. I was an infantryman, an army vet, AND a serious, mind-my-own-business, college student. Surely, I had nothing to fear from these intimidating cavalrymen towering above me on six-foot horses. Or, so I thought. Out on the quad the shouting of the crowd was noisy enough, but until that time there had been nothing more ominous. As I went my way I passed the horses and their riders, one by one. As I did so, over his megaphone one of the demonstrators shouted, "We're San Francisco State! What are they [other colleges] going to say about us if we didn't do anything? WE'VE GOTTA OCCUPY SOME BUILDINGS!!!" As the crowd roared in assent, the mounted police officer nearest me began repeatedly palming his billy club as he muttered softly, "AHH, THAT'S MORE LIKE IT!" The protests that day were mainly about two issues, racism and the Vietnam War. Martin Luther King had been assassinated 11 months earlier, in Vietnam the infamous Tet offensive was only 2 months away, and the killings by the National Guard of students at Kent State University protesting the bombing of neutral Cambodia by the US military was yet to come. It was a time for political activism. I'm proud to say that when Cambodia was bombed, student members of our biology department set up tables in the BioScience building's hallway to recruit fellow biology students to send telegrams to the White House condemning the bombings. Those were terrible times; the country was torn apart. As a student I was privileged to have been a member of the resistance.  I'm brokenhearted to see that, in the crisis this divided country and its imperiled Constitution faces today under the rule of a madman and a morally destitute Congress, college students from coast to coast are silent!

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