|1968 with Mark Rudd|
|Last Week with Richard Carreño|
Photo: WritersClearinghouse News Service/Joan T. Kane
By Richard Carreño
[WritersClearinghouse News Service]
Forty years ago, I was there -- in front of the Low Memorial Library at Columbia University -- as well. While Mark Rudd was 'sitting in' that fateful night during the Summer of '68 when the police rioted on campus to dislodge the protesters -- many, like Rudd, members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) -- I was working with The New York Times.
Mine was a curious role -- part informant, part reporter, part gofer. I was The Times's college correspondent at New York University, and Arthur Gelb, the late, great city editor, had called me to assign me to the aforementioned tri-part position. Gelb wanted me to basically hang with Rudd and other protesters, gather information, and share with Times reporters. I did this faithfully. Though, come to think of it now, it now feels more like it was spying than reporting.
The night of the police invasion, through the portal on Broadway and 116th Street (see photo below, left), I was ensconced in the nearby building (also pictured, right) where The Times had established a pop-up bureau. I maintained phone contact -- land-land phone contact, of course -- with editors at The Times's HQ at 43rd Street. It was an all-night affair. I was unscathed -- though my honor was somewhat compromised.
Many of the protesters weren't so lucky. Many were bloodied. The 'pigs' had done their job. Yet, finally, were vanquished. Lyndon Johnson didn't run again. The Vietnam War was coming to an end. But not before Mayor Daley's 'pigs' in Chicago had run amok at the Democratic National Convention, also held that summer. I was there, as well. This time strictly reporting -- for the NYU daily, The Washington Square Journal.