1966–1975 Peace & Protest

From the Summer of Love to Women's Lib, Gay Rights and Black Panthers

The woman, a scientist who had given up 10 working years to raise her children, said, "I can understand if these women want to work and are demanding equal pay. But why on earth do they want to have children too?" To which the man rejoiced: "Ah, they don't want kids. They're mostly a bunch of dykes, anyway."

Again: Having lunch with an erudite, liberal editor, trained in the humanist tradition, I was struck dumb by his reply to my mention of the women's liberation movement: "Ah shit, who the hell is oppressing them?"

And yet again: A college-educated housewife, fat and neurotic, announced with arch sweetness, "I'm sorry, I just don't feel oppressed."

Over and over again, in educated thinking circles, one meets with a bizarre, almost determined ignorance of a fact of unrest that is growing daily, and that exists in formally organized bodies in nearly every major city and on dozens of campuses across America. The women of this country are gathering themselves into a sweat of civil revolt and the general population seems totally unaware of what is happening; or, indeed, that anything is happening; or that there is a legitimate need behind what is happening? How is this possible? Why is it true? What relation is there between peculiarly unalarmed, amused dismissal of the women's rights movement and the movement itself? Is this relation only coincidental, only the generally apathetic response of a society already benumbed by civil rights and student anarchy and unable to rise to yet one more protest movement, or is it more to the point in the case of women's rights, is it not, in fact, precisely the key to the entire issue?

Black Panther Protest (Dec. 1969)
photo: Fred W. McDarrah
How do you try a revolutionary?
A Black Panther trial in New Haven
by Jonathan Black

July 23, 1970

Afeni Shakur twisted over the microphone in the drizzling rain on New Haven Green: "I just came outta that courtroom," she shouted angrily at the crowd of 300 supporters, "and you gotta see it to believe it. That racist jury in there is gonna fry Lonnie! They're gonna put him in that chair with wires and they're gonna electrocute him. Now I ain't gonna see that happen. We gotta stop it. We gotta do more than rallyin' and clappin' our hands. We can't let 'em fry that brother!" And she turned abruptly away with an angry cry of "Power!"

Lonnie McLucas is the first Black Panther of the New Haven Nine to stand trial for the kidnapping and murder of Alex Rackley, whose torture-scarred body was found half submerged in the Coghinchug River on May 21, 1969. The significance of McLucas' trial cannot be exaggerated.

McLucas is the first Panther to face trial for a capital crime since Huey Newton. Over vehement objection by all defense lawyers, the court severed McLucas's trial from the other eight Panthers. The prosecution had requested the severance "to guarantee a fair trial."

On a clear day you can see your mother

May 6, 1971

The title of this episode is new approach: All women are lesbians except those who don't know it naturally they are but don't know it yet I am a woman who is a lesbian because I am a woman and a woman who loves herself naturally who is other women is a lesbian a woman who loves women loves herself naturally this is the case that a woman is herself is all woman is a natural born lesbian so we don't mind using the name like any name it is quite meaningless it means naturely I am a woman and whatever I am we are we affirm being what we are the way of course all men are homosexuals being having a more sense of their homo their homo-ness their ecce homo-ness their ecce prince & lord & master-ness the 350 years of Abraham intersample Abraham lived for 350 years because the bible ages are only a succession of sons and fathers and grandfathers intensely identifying with their ancestors their son so identified naturely with the father that he believed he was the father and of course he was as was Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Esau and Reuben and Simeon and Levi and Judah and Joseph each one lived for 350 years, but who are the daughters of Rachel and Ruth and Sarah and Rebekah the rest we do not know the daughters never had any daughters they had only sons who begat more sons and sons so we have very little sense, from that particular book, of the lineage and ligaments and legacies and identities of mothers and daughters and their daughters and their mothers and mothers and daughters and sisters who were naturally not lesbians if they had nothing of each other save sons so now we much say Verily Verily, I say unto thee, except a woman be born again she cannot see the Kingdom of Goddess a woman must be born again to be herself her own eminence and grace the queen queenself whose mother had pressed upon her mouth innumerable passionate kisses so sigh us . . .

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