Newstalgia Reference Room - March On Washington - May 9, 1970


If you haven't seen this post before (it was posted on this day last year and this day the year before that), it's a reminder that protesting a wrong your government is doing is legal - it is part of our democracy. And when 100,000 people do it, as they did on this day in 1970, it sends a message.

As an outgrowth to the violence that met the anti-War protests at Kent and Jackson State Universities only a few days earlier, a mass demonstration and protest to the Vietnam War and our incursion into Cambodia on April 30th was organized and a march on Washington was held on May 9th.

It was the biggest demonstration of its kind, and the most peaceful. This was the demonstration made somewhat famous by the presence of President Nixon, walking through the crowd unannounced and without Secret Service in the middle of the night, talking with protesters.

News reports remarked Nixon thought the exchange with the demonstrators was "interesting". At a time when the word "interesting" could either mean enthusiasm, revulsion or the Chinese Curse - it was hard to pin down exactly what Nixon meant. But suffice to say, this demonstration brought mass opposition to the Vietnam War very much to the forefront.

Here is a special broadcast as presented by NBC News on May 9,1970.

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