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Alan Canfora and Dr. Roseann Chic Canfora

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Transcription

McKiernan Interviews
Interview with: Alan Canfora and Roseann Chic Canfora
Interviewed by: Stephen McKiernan
Transcriber: Benjamin Mehdi So
Date of interview: 22 November 2009
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(Start of Interview)

00:02
SM: Is- It is basically a question I am only asking the people that were activists during the (19)60s. And that is: what made you become an activist? Was there something in your life in your growing up years, whether it be in high school or even before what happened on May 4, 1970? What was it within you in your background that made you become an activist in your life?

00:33
RC: Well, I grew up in a house with a father, who was always politically involved as a city councilman. But also, as a labor activist, I lived in a, in Barberton, Ohio, which was at the time a factory town. And so, every little league team has URW or UAEW, you know, the United Rubber Workers or Auto Workers Union, were the sponsors of just about all the teams and most of my friend's fathers work in factories [agreement]. From my earliest recollections, as a child were always hearing my father on the phone, talking about, you know, basically the fights that they were engaging on, on the labor front through the UAW and being a union leader that was a very natural thing in my household that we respected unions, we avoided, we did not cross picket lines, we understood the value of people fighting for their rights and standing up for what they believed in [agreement]. I have to say that-that had a long-term influence on my own political value of people fighting for their rights and standing for what they believe in. I did not come to Kent State as a political activist, however, I was a very strait-laced, honors students in high school, a cheerleader, very socially involved and very politically unaware, because I do not remember my teachers talking about things like the Vietnam War, even though many of my friends were in the same war, had brothers that were coming home injured or, or in body bags. And I think I might have remained relatively uninvolved, politically at Kent State were it not for the draft, which personally affected me, because so many of my friends and my brothers in particular, were eligible for the draft and were dreading going, and it was that alone, that made me begin to question what is this war? And where will they go? And why do they have to fight? And what can I do to stop them from going?

03:29
SM: We get, before I get into my other set of questions here, when you think going back to that period now when you heard, when you experienced the tragedies on May 4, and that whole weekend, 1970. When you saw the news media afterwards, constantly say that of all places, it happened to Kent State, you remember this in the media? You know, there was a lot more activist campus like Ohio State or particularly Ohio University that had been through some major protests. And then they said, believe it or not, it happened to Kent State. How do you, how did you react to that just what the media was doing, and portraying the, your university and the students there?

04:11
RC: Well, I never bought that because I was there in 1968, a college freshman, and from my very first day on campus, SDS had a very visible and viable presence on that campus. I could remember being handed an anti-war leaflet my first week of school, even though I was inclined to throw it away, and not pay attention. You know, I was still of the mindset that, you know, like the Tennyson, “Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die.” I grew up in a very military family. My mother was an Army nurse. My father had served in World War II. They met in a hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan, where my father who was recuperating from an injury and I remember you know, as a child always going through their scrapbook and always envisioning my brother's someday going off and joining the army too. In fact, I even looked forwards to joining the ROTC, as you know, kind of been following in my mother's footsteps at one point. But even though I was largely expectant of, of young men going off to service, I was aware that there was growing opposition on the campus at Kent. And it was a very constant level of political activity with SDS. I marveled at that I was very impressed with that even though I did not pay much attention to what they were saying, I was paying attention to their determination. And it always, it always fascinated me that whether it was raining or freezing cold outside, or whether it was fall, winter, or spring, they were there. They were in the Student Center, and they were always working, they were always organizing, they were always engaging with theater, they were always passing out leaflets, always walking with bullhorns and marching on that campus. And I watched it grow. And with that growing, not with those growing numbers, my growing interest in them. So no, I was, I was never of the mindset that Kent was not what the people placed it was sort of a surprise that a major anti-war protest happened there, whoever said that was clueless about what was going on there and never paid attention.
06:41
SM: Yeah, that was a lot of what the media was doing right around that time. One of the questions I wanted to ask, too, is, you know, about the generation gap between parents and students and between parents and boomers. And most of the World War II generation, obviously, you had some very quality parents who were inspirational role models to you, was there any kind of a generation gap between you and Alan and the rest of your, your family and your parents? And secondly, when you used to eat at the dinner table in high school did you ever had, did they listened to you to where their conversations at the table were not only, they were giving information to you about the experiences, but they respected your point of view too.

07:26
RC: So, we always talk politics, but disagreements in our family were very, very common things I can still remember Alan, supporting Robert Kennedy and my dad supporting Hubert Humphrey and, and you know, them debating about which one was the better candidate. And, you know, I do remember when Alan was beginning to question the war and be critical of the war. My mom and dad disagreed with them. But I also remember when I watched Johnson, on television announcing the invasion of Southeast Asia. And I remember looking at my mother's face, and I saw a worry on her face, I did not see what a very pro-military woman to look, the look I thought would be different. But I saw the worry on her face, I knew that going into Southeast Asia was probably not right, and even though my dad disagreed with a lot of the tactics that were being used I think by activists, it was-was more so because he was worried, we would get in trouble, we would go to jail, to see if we participated and get hurt. He never really stifled our opinions or told us we were full of it, he always listened, my parents always listened and even debated with us over the dinner table. We were Italian family, so we argued a lot. And we never made it feel we could not vent our opinion

09:01
SM: Did any of your brothers go off to war?

09:04
RC: No.

09:06
SM: Okay, when you think of the (19)60s and the early (19)70s, of course, why I had an interview yesterday with Rennie Davis. He was the guy I ended up interviewing in Washington because he was there for speaking event. And he looked at the (19)60s as from 1960 to 1973, which I kind of believe as well, when but when you think of the (19)60s and early (19)70s, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

09:33
RC: So, when I think of the (19)60s and (19)70s I, the first thing comes to my mind is the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement that those, those are the two I think most polarizing and inspiring episode of the (19)60s and the (19)70s.

09:55
SM: Obviously, I think I know your answer to this, is, is there one specific event that shaped your life when you were young? I would assume it was what happened on May 4?

10:05
RC: Well, certainly that stands up there at number one, also affected deeply by the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and particularly by the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. I mean, I was just graduated from high school when, when Bobby Kennedy gave us so much hope for ending the war, and so much focus on bringing a real president to the White House. And, you know, seeing those dreams dashed and seeing those heroes extinguished, so, you know, suddenly and tragically was devastating to me. And, and it was very confusing. I never knew how to put that into perspective until I was much older.

10:55
SM: Where were you when you heard John Kennedy died? You remember the moment?

11:00
RC: Yes, I was in a social studies class at Highland junior high school. I was 13 in the seventh grade. And I remember the public address system came on, there was no announcement by the principal, they just literally turned on the public address system and allowed the radio report to come through. I remember watching my social studies teacher grab his stomach, almost as if he has been shot himself in a gut reaction. And then I remember everyone kind of pouring into the hallways, and teachers were crying and crying. And that just began that horribly, long week there, I will never, ever forget the drumbeat of that funeral processional and all the stores closing and all of the grief on the faces of so many people. I grew up in a very democratic town. And so, it was an entire town in absolute grief.

12:03
SM: It is like watching television from Friday through Monday, without ever turning the TV off.

12:09
RC: Right, And I remember we were at church. And walk in the door, just as my father was reacting to the assassination or the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald. And it was just like, wow, to be that young, and see so much tragedy back, back-to-back has to have played a significant role in my own political activism later. I was stunned by all that tragedy and outrage, you know, in ways that I was too young to be able to express then. But I am sure it manifested itself in my activism later.

12:49
SM: Right then getting into 1968, which had seemed to be one event after another that traumatized people. And certainly, you would have been five years older in 1968. So, you, what as a young person, what were your feelings? You, after King died, and then finding out that Bobby Kennedy died two months later. I mean, what did you think about America?

13:16
RC: Well, I remember feeling so hopeless, because being in a family where so, so much was put on election with, you know, I mean, as little kids, as very, very young kids, I could still remember my, my brother Alan and my brother Sonny and I, running from precinct to precinct with a little notepad and a pencil. So, we can write down to the vote tallies, as they were posted outside the door. And that was the way they used to do it for my father's election. It was always a very exciting thing for us to run from precinct to precinct on election night, and then run back into the house to tell my father he won his election. So, we always valued democracy and always actively participated in democracy, and then to see people rising to positions of power, rightfully so, to be gunned down. People do not even have the opportunity to elect them was probably the most closest feeling I had as a child that, you know, anybody who tries to do it the right way that tries to go through the system to effect change, that there is no hope for them to do that meaningfully. I became very disillusioned with my, with America, the American that I was coming to know.

14:40
SM: The, one of the- Newt Gingrich when he came to power in 1994, and the writer George Will in US News and World Report always have, always, whenever they get a chance, they like to downplay and actually criticize the boomer generation as a whole for all the reasons why we have problems in America today. They will generalize the breakup of the American family, the tensions between black and white, those who support the troops, those who are against the troops. The whole issue of, you know, lack of respect for authority, when you, they basically condemned the generation, what are your thoughts when you hear the Newt Gingrich’s and the George Wills of the world, make those kinds of comments.

15:28
RC: So, they are ignorant, they are absolutely ignorant, because when I looked back at the generation that I was a part of, I mean, certainly a difficult time in which to live, but it was a time that I would not for the world have missed living. It was a generation of youth that was not afraid to disagree with their parents. And so while some may call that rebelliousness, I really see it as an age of enlightenment. There was an overall rejection of the value of the generation before us, a generation that, like, you know, that worships, worships war, you know, was, was, you know, and instead of, I mean, then they polluted our air with, you know, their industries, and their-their focus on capitalism and focus on, you know, just getting ahead and, you know, being, you know, that whole dog-eat-dog world that they lived in, it was inspiring for me to be part of a new generation, that value peace over war that values the earth over the capitalism and pollution and, and, and we were a generation that fell in love with music, and fell in love with the earth and fell in love with peace. And, you know, the Woodstock generation was, to me, probably the greatest thing I have ever been part of, because it was that rejection of the value for us, and this collective statement that we are different. We are different, we lived differently. And you know, some, some rejected the whole era of free love and off of that, well, you know, that whole puritanical kind of stuff-shirted attitude of our, of our parents was rejected. So, I think people like Newt Gingrich are yucky, and Jerry Rubin who, you know, whose slogan, “kill your parents” made us seem violent and rebellious. When really it was a value system that said, we are different. And we reject the values of our parents, we are not afraid to form a new society, with values that put people first rather than profit, that put peace first, rather than war, something above something vaccines? I do not know. I am proud to have been part of that.

18:18
SM: What, what do you think, if you were to put down some characteristics and qualities that you feel the strengths and weaknesses of the boomers were, and again, we are talking about, some people have a hard time talking about 75 million people when maybe only 15 percent were activists. But, but, but I have also talked to people that if you were in the non-activist group, the subconscious, obviously is part of who you are as a human being. So really does in a way affect the entire boomer generation. What do you consider some of the strengths and weaknesses of the boomers and boomers are those born between (19)46 and (19)64?

19:00
RC: To me, we were really very much a product of our upbringing, because when I remember mostly the division on the Kent State campus, that kind of I saw, my first glimpse of it was at the music and speech building. When the Kent Four were about to be expelled. It is my first political action. And I was just, I was outraged that the four leaders that I had seen for two years walking with bull horns and leading so many people against the war on campus, were about to be expelled and I thought that was wrong. And so when I followed them to the music and speech building, the, the protest, people were protesting the expulsion, waiting at the music and speech building was another set of boomers, a different set of boomers but fraternity guys who then were pissed started, you know, fighting with the SDS followers, and that to me, was a very visual reminder of the polarization in this country, that pitted not just the Woodstock generation against parents. But pit for war against anti-war boomers. You know, pro-materialism, pro-materialist against anti-materialist. And, and I really do think it had a lot to do with who we were when we were growing up during those years, if we were kids who really were affected by the assassination that we talked about a moment ago. Because I mean, when I was at Highland junior high school, and I was sobbing at the death of President Kennedy, I still remember a girl who was on my cheerleading squad saying, “Thank God,” because she hated Kennedy. So, you know, we were, we were divided against each other as we were divided against those that have come before us. And I think it has a lot to do with those in our generation that bought into the materialistic values of our parents. And they were usually the ones that were a little more well off. And I think that the working-class kids were far more influenced by the labor movement, and the civil, and the civil rights movement, and the anti-war movement, combined. So, to me, that is our strength and our weakness. Our strength is being reared in, in the, you know, the working class town, that was the strength for us, being reared by, by parents who served this country and expected to get something in return versus those in our generation who never knew the value of labor in making, you know, improving the quality of life for everyone with health benefits and vacation benefits and safer factories and safer food products and all the things to me that are the strength of that whole era of the (19)60s and (19)70s. Labor is at the heart of that. And I think labor, and the value of that is what really divided our own generation.

22:13
SM: There have been a lot of setbacks in labor because of Ronald Reagan, it all started with Ronald Reagan and remember the airline strike, I remember the airline situation. And from that day forward, labor unions have gone down in terms of the number of people participating in them. And leads, leads me into my next question, which is, what has been the overall impact of the boomer generation on America as a whole? Now we are talking 70 million, we have had two presidents, totally different presidents in Bill Clinton and George Bush, who are boomers. And actually, President Obama is a very late boomer. I mean with him being very young. But what has been the overall impact on America forget what George Will and Newt Gingrich say, but you are just your thoughts as a proud, a proud boomer.

23:01
RC: Well, actually, I, I think that it would, I am not really sure I know what you are asking me. When you say Newt Gingrich, he is blaming us for the current problems of today?

23:14
SM: Well, he, he goes back to the era of that generation, he did this in 1994. And occasionally he has opportunities to say it. George Will writes it all the time, that the drug culture, they look at the negatives, they look at all the negative things and, and they-they say, that is the influence we have on our society. They have very permissive society, no one talks to each other people do not listen, people are getting divorced. There is still the tensions between black and white, and in all the “-isms.” They go back to that era. So basically, what my question is just, forgetting what they said, what you believe, has been the impact of this boomer generation on America and the world?

24:01
RC: Well, I think that that image, the positive image, throughout the world, of what America represents, is embodied in the boomer generation. Because if there was ever a generation in the history of this country, since the revolution, that truly exemplified and put through their greatest test those constitutional guarantees of freedom, and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances, it was the boomer generation. There was no other time since the revolution that anyone can point to where the people put those rights to the test. And not only were gun down for it but got back up and continued to point out the wrongs of this government. And I think that in the same way that the corrupt Gingrich’s and others in Congress who see that, I mean, they saw what we were capable of doing with free, with a free press in the (19)60s with the Walter Cronkite types of reporters, but as long as people know the truth, they can act on this truth. And they can effect meaningful change with the truth. Everything that we have seen in those volatile years of the (19)60s and (19)70s, we have seen a reaction to that. That was why we could not see flag faced coffins anymore. That is why we no longer have a media that is not controlled by profit, and governments. Because when the people are as aware as the boomers were, and act on that awareness, then then government is not safe. So, I think that is the greatest contribution of our generation is we put those-those rights to their greatest test. And we are still here advocating for a return to the freedoms that that we enjoyed then that are, you know, frozen and eroded, time and time again today, by a government afraid of that kind of people power returning,

26:17
SM: Obviously, you are living those feelings and expressing them even I am seeing you at some of the events at Kent State. And democracy is very important to you. But when you look at as boomers have aged, and now the early boomers or the late, they are now on social security for the first time this year for the, for the, for the boomer generation, how many of them really have lived up to what they did when they were young? It can you, can you put, can you put you have seen over the years, even some of your friends who were activists, like you were back in the (19)70s, early (19)70s. And have seen what that, how they lived their lives. I guess, what I am really asking is, have they lived up to their, their beliefs of that particular era? Or did they fall into the same trap of many previous generations of, you know, just going back and making money raising families not really caring about your fellow human beings because they got to put bread on the table, or-

27:22
RC: I think there is a lot of people, and I am included, in part because I remember, my parents never had, we never had money, we never, my mother was a stay-at-home mom, my dad worked in a factory, money was always an issue when I grew up. And I remember my dad telling me that he could not afford to send me to college, because he had three boys to put through school, and I was just going to get married and have kids anyway, and so on and so forth. So, I know that as a parent, today, I gave my kids far more than I otherwise might have. I expected them to work less than my parents expected me to work because I never wanted them to work and to go through what I went through. I mean, I it took me eight years to do my undergraduate work, because I always had to work to pay for it myself. And I had to work, sometimes go to school, sometimes, work while going to school, sometimes drop out and work for a year and then go back. And so, I find myself as a parent, saying to my kids, as long as you are in school, I will pay for it. You know, I want you to get through in four years. And I think that there is a lot of boomers like me who overindulge their children to begin with. And then some of them got, I think, trapped in that whole materialistic, you know, giving, give our kids what we did not have. And therefore, the material possessions became as important as they were to our parents, you know, so what they rejected in the (19)60s, they embrace in the (19)80s. And so, I remember being part of that myself, until I really got a good look at you know an America that does not, you know, it does not have its priorities straight. You know, it is more and more people are going homeless and hungry, as more and more people are losing their jobs. I cannot imagine where all the boomers are now fighting for healthcare now. They were, they have just, they have not only lost their way they have lost their mind. How can they not see that the issues we face today are even more critical than before, you know, to have a record, you know, to have, you know, such a huge number of people in my generation, support George Bush for eight years. It is mind boggling. People who said that they marched in the (19)60s, but now you know, they you know, this is the, this is the new way that they support America. I do not I do not know that any one part would do so, I would not, and I would like to believe I know when America has gone wrong, and I am willing to still stand up to it against the powers that be if they are taking us in the wrong direction. I do not know where the half a million strong Woodstock generation is. They rejected those values back then they moved on and adapted their values and their hearts are not there-

30:19
SM: There were so many activists in the late (19)60s and (19)70s. And I, I have often wondered whatever happened to their parenting in respect to raising activist mentalities and, and their sons and daughters. Now, and of course, when we talk sons and daughters now, we are talking about two generations here because the generation that followed the boomers are the Generation Xers that seem to always have problems with boomers, and now Millennials are the current college group. There is some activism lots of volunteerism. But do you see where, you see much activism on college campuses now yourself?

30:58
RC: Well, yes, there is pockets of activism. But so much of campus activism has to do with, with causes, you know, I suppose, if there were a draft, and most of the kids that age were being sent off to war as it was for us you would see far more activism than you see now. But I also see a decrease in activism by design. If college education was affordable to me, my parents could not pay for my college. But I could work all summer long and pay for my tuition for an entire year. My tuition at Kent was $197 a quarter in 1968, it cost $400 a year to live full time in a dorm with a meal ticket for three meals a day. Today’s college student does not have that affordable, affordability. And I think that is by government design. So that never again we will witness what we witnessed in the (19)60s, today's college students are burdened with debt, they are burdened not only with tuition debt, they are burdened with credit card debt all by design. Because if you can keep them working jobs while they are in school, if you can keep them so fretted over the, you know, the, without the fear of being expelled or the fear of having, of not being able to graduate, so on and so forth. Then they are going to be less inclined to take up causes, causes beyond themselves. And I think that, that- that was- that was what has happened. That they knew that the Woodstock generation’s children were coming to college. And they did not want a repeat of what they had in the (19)60s. So, they made college unaffordable, they made both parents have to work they made college students have to work. I truly I mean, I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist. But I think unaffordable colleges, this was by design.

33:04
SM: Well, you, you said something very important. I have always mentioned I may have mentioned to you the title of my book is “Magic Moments.” And-and that was because in each interview, there has been a magic moment, you just created a magic moment. Because I did not expect that. But it is very well put, because I felt for a long time. And this is not my interview, it is yours. But that activism is a term that scares college administrations to death. And it is like they do not want a repeat of what happened back in the (19)60s and early (19)70s. And because of the fact that they know that this generation of students or parents are very close to their kids, and anything that upsets the apple cart, they will take their kid out of college, and it is all about the bottom line. So, you raise some really good points there.

33:55
RC: Look at some of the laws that are being passed. I was a teacher for 31 years in high school classrooms. High school teachers today are well I mean, and my, my son, my son, Ian is going to be a math professor, and now well, they have laws on the books right now where you can have a teacher removed from the classroom, but something as simple and vague as conduct unbecoming of a teacher. We have to worry that any teacher who speaks his mind, or you know, a few years back, I stood in front of the White House with a sign saying, “Impeach Bush”. And on the other side it said, “The Bush-Cheney Occupation, who will reconstruct America?” This is right after we went into Iraq. I was out there for six hours. And I remember these policemen coming over to me, they knew I was a teacher. And they said, “How long are you here for? Aren’t you teaching a summer school,” I mean, like they had they knew who I was, and where I taught? And that was, that was chilling.

34:54
SM: Wow.

34:56
RC: And I remember as our union kind of briefed us, our Teachers Union briefed us two years ago on how all the laws were changing. So that we had to be more careful about our political affiliations and our political activism. Because if a school board saw us as looking rebellious for participating in conduct unbecoming a teacher, then you know, we could lose our jobs even, even if we had tenure. That is a small example of what I think is occurring on a larger scale. Our government learned a great deal from us in the (19)60s, they learned a great deal of about what can happen when people mobilized and when, when, when the opposition grows, and so on and so forth. And how does it grow? You know, Walter Cronkite showed us live feed pictures of the Mai Lai Massacre. You know, we saw more and more coffins coming home. That is why we do not have access to that kind of information anymore, that that makes Americans turn, you know, that is why we have the radio waves and the television stations flooded with government propaganda, because they would have to counter any anything that might have done what happened in the (19)60s, encouraged people to, to know the truth about what was happening in Iraq. I mean, we had so few people questioning the weapons of mass destruction. And the New York Times had to take out a full-page ad and apologize to its readers around the world, that they did not do their jobs, the apologies of the Judith Miller's and all the people who were taking their talking points and Karl Rove, it is a whole different ballgame now, and it is all because they learned what can happen when there is a press. They learned what can happen, when there are not-not enough laws on the books to stop us from, from protesting. And then when they shot us down in 1970, they did so with impunity, no one has paid a price for that. They were emboldened in; they have been emboldened by their ability to shoot down college students during the protests and get away with it. Do not think for one minute that did not have a chilling effect on a lot of boomers, who did not see that we got anything accomplished, beyond getting shot down, when we stood up.

37:25
SM: Very well put, well, I am actually, I am one of those because Kent State affected me my entire life and I and I was not there. The, how important, and, were the college students in ending the Vietnam War in the end, and-and how important were the boomer generation and all the other movements, because when you think of the antiwar movement, the civil rights movement, we also had to think of obviously, the women's movement, the gay and lesbian movement, the Chicano movement, the Native American movement, the environmental movement, and all the all the movements that all kind of looked at the civil rights movement, as an example, on how to do a movement, how important were boomers and those movements.

38:10
RC: Well, They, they all emanated from our generation, and in the (19)60s and (19)70s, were all of the above, all the things that you mentioned, were, you know, pretty much defining who we were, as a generation of youth. And, you know, you have to, you have to take a look at what the (19)60s really were, you know, after World War II mothers were sent home, because they had, they were all in the factory supporting the war effort. But they were sent, they were sent home to just support their husbands and have, have babies and whatever and it was, so idyllic, you know, the music of the time, sort of, you know, represented that complacency, that feeling that the only thing that matters was getting a color TV, having a nice car, having a home which you own, and those became the values and all of the things that you mentioned, the values that involve not material possessions, but involve human rights. Were those that became the causal laws of the (19)60s and (19)70s. Because it became apparent that while America while the American middle class was, was growing, and while opportunities, seem to be abounding for a majority of Americans. There was still this painful minority that was being shunned, that was being discriminated against, who did not have those opportunities, who were not given those jobs, who were not getting elected to positions whose voices were not heard. And thank God that among us, in that middle class, who is still enough people to say this is not right. This is a government of the people, by the people for all of the people you know. This is you know; we have first amendment rights that all voices will be heard, yes, the majority will rule but the minority is heard. And so, if, if their voices were not being heard, we had, thank goodness, a sufficient enough number among the boomers that took up their voices for them. And, you know, we had a very, you know, lots of, we had a good number of white people that were killed, along with black people fighting for civil rights in the south, and the sufficient number of men that fought for women's rights and a sufficient enough number of whites that continue to fight alongside their Latino brothers and sisters, and their Native American brothers and sisters, and their black brothers and sisters to achieve the equality that is the true promise of America. That, to me, is not the entire boomer generation, but it was a very significant part of the boomer generation and I always called it the Woodstock generation is part and parcel of the boomer generation. But it was the enlightened segment of the boomer generation, and I think there is still a significant number of those who raise their children, right. And their children were out there pounding the pavement for Barack Obama, or Hillary Clinton, strong people who represent that famous line that is about the true values of what it means to be an American.

41:38
SM: I am going to turn my tape here, hold on a second. Because I always looked at, I got the tape back on now, I always look at the boomers as a very passionate group to begin with. So, in life, if you do not have passion for what you believe in, that is- that is that. this this next question I am going to ask you is, I am going to read it to you this on all the other stuff going on in my head, because I have done it quite often. But I have to read this to make sure everything stated, do you feel that boomers are still having a problem with healing from the divisions that tore the nation apart in their youth, and division between black and white, divisions between those who supported authority and those who criticized, criticized it, division between those who supported the troops and those who did not. And I know that is very still big in the veteran community. And, and, of course, what did the Vietnam Memorial do in Washington in terms of healing these divisions within the Vietnam generation, but Americans as a whole, and do you feel the boomer generation will go to its grave like the Civil War generation not truly healing? Am I wrong in thinking this? Or has 35 to 40 years, made the statement “Time heals all wounds” the truth? In other words, this this comes up because I want to do a little anecdote here. We took a group of students to see Edmund Muskie before he passed away, mid (19)90s. And in that meeting, we asked this very same question, we thought he was going to come back to the 1968 convention and all the protests and the divisions in the country. And he had a one-minute melodramatic pause, and he had just come out of the hospital. And he said, “I just watched the Ken Burn series when I was in the hospital. And my only answer to you is that we have not healed since the Civil War.” And-and then we went on into a 20-minute discussion with the students. Your thoughts on whether within our generation, the boomer generation, the 70 million, are having a problem with healing? Or am I just or am I just thinking something that is not really there?

44:04
RC: Well first of all, I am not sure what you mean, when you say healing. If you think that we were a generation that is looking to heal. It is unrealistic to me, as long as there is racism and discrimination, and, and inequality in this country, it is a gaping room with no hope of healing. It is not like there is a band aid on it. And you are hoping that it pulls together and starts to heal. It is a gaping wound to me every bit as evident as it was in the (19)60s. When, when we have a situation in this country, where a significant number of boomers are fighting to keep their children protected from the message of the President of the United States two weeks ago. That is racism, every bit as racist, as we saw, in the (19)60s, when we look on television, at people carrying signs in front of the White House, labeling the first African American president, a socialist, a terrorist and an illegal alien, then we have racism every bit as prevalent as we did in the (19)60s. You have, for the first time in recent history, I have never seen it, a congressman, who screamed out “You lie,” to the President of the United States during a joint session of Congress during a televised address to the nation in need, desperate for health care. That is blatant racism, like I have not seen, since the (19)60s when they were still using the “N” word you have got even today, for the first time in, in my lifetime ever, seeing people dressed in camouflage, with guns on their shoulders, at political healthcare rallies with the President of the United States there proclaiming their second amendment rights and, and being protected by their first amendment right, to be able to express their opposition with a gun in their hand. You know, there are people that are on talk radio applauding them even. I do not know if you saw that television, on television, the Baptist minister, a white minister using biblical scripture, the day before Barack Obama was coming to speak on health care in his town, citing biblical scriptures as justified praying for the death of the African American president. We have seen a significant rise in hate groups since 2000. And that has a lot to do with fears of immigration that are promulgated by a biased media, the failing economy and the election of a black president. We have people that are still saying when the African American president wins the Nobel Peace Prize, instead of celebrating as a nation, that our president is so honored, they were saying, “It is not time, it is too soon.” Now you tell me, we do not have a gaping wound when it comes to racism in this country. We have not come far enough to say any healing has begun. Because I fear every single day that will not happen.

47:46
SM: This is kind of an offshoot, does this say something about the boomer generation, their failure to live up to some of the things they were fighting for in their youth?

47:54
RC: I am sorry, but I cannot blame a generation. Because it was, I say, I mean, I believe that. In large part, the, the liberals and the African Americans, and the minorities, who were a big part of the anti-war movement, and the civil rights movement of the (19)60s, are the ones who played a significant role in getting Barack Obama elected. So, we are here. We are here and we were heard. And to be honest with you, I think we were not so muffled during the Bush years, because I still believe in my heart, he did not win either of those elections. They have the power and the connection to rig both of those elections. And I do think that the anger that was built within our rank in those eight volatile years. It played a significant role in our numbers doubling. And I think we reared our ugly face again, for the first time, since the (19)60s, in this last election.

49:03
SM: Good point. What, if you were to be in a room at Kent State University with students that you went to school with in the in the late (19)60s, early (19)70s, say a room of 500. And, and you were to ask them, of all the events that took place in their lives. And again, the people at Kent State might say what happened on May 4, 1970. But if this was a, from all over the country, from all universities, what was the one event that had the greatest effect on them in their lives? What event would that be?

49:43
RC: Oh, so the Vietnam War. I would say the Kent state killings and the shootings at Jackson State are a part of that answer. I mean, you cannot separate the Vietnam War from the shootings at Kent State. Because it was the most polarizing war, it was one of the most unjust wars, one of the most protracted, it has taken 58,000 from our generation, it was a huge blight on our generation. And it was our generation that fought that war and that brought that word to its knees So that is the single defining moment of our generation, number one that, I mean not being affected, those of us who survived the shootings there, most profoundly. But all of us were profoundly affected by the Vietnam War. Everyone, whether they were there or not, they know somebody who died there or whose life was greatly affected by that war.

50:44
SM: When. when did the (19)60s begin? And when did it end?

50:50
RC: I would say it began with the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960. Was it 1960? Yeah, because he died in (19)63. Because that has when labor prevailed. He was seen as a president that that was accepted and supported by labor. That election was dominated by labor. And he was seen as a proponent of civil rights. And he was a- he was a Democrat. That, that the working class looked at it.

51:39
SM: And when did the (19)60s end?

51:43
RC: The (19)60s ended in 1970 [inaudible] was probably the most chilling and polarizing reaction to the strength of the voices that emanated from the women's movement, the civil rights movement, and the anti-war movement.

52:05
SM: What do you think was the main reason the Vietnam War ended?

52:10
RC: Because of Kent State, no question. Within six weeks of the shooting at Kent State, Nixon began withdrawing troops from Southeast Asia. If you look at any of his memoirs, or those written by his closest advisors, Ehrlichman and Haldeman they all say that the days after Kent State were the most dark of his presidency, it was after Kent State that he was most fearful. I mean, they had buses lined up around the White House. There were people in the streets in every, every, 750 college campuses shut down in protest. I believe it was that year that Harvard did not even have their, their graduation on time. Campuses were shut down. And when you tell the businesses out there that their Ivy League schools, and their colleges are not sending their graduates out to build their companies. That is a, that is a damning moment in this country. They never anticipated I think, when they conspired to-to hear era and stifle our voices, the students of Kent State. And I do believe it was planned everything ahead and-and funnel down through Governor Rhodes in the, Ohio. I do, I do believe that they did not anticipate the reaction it would bring when you when you shoot down four middle class, white students on the Kent State campus. Then all their efforts to brand them as outside agitators failed. Cause you know, they, they, every student hit with a bullet was a Kent State student. 24, or 25, 24 students and a faculty member indicted by the Ohio grand jury as part of the Kent 25, these were student and faculty, these were not outside agitators.

54:08
SM: One of the other issues besides the healing that I tried to get to in this interview is the issue of trust. There are a lot of examples that the boomers saw when they were young of leaders failing them in many ways. Some are very obvious, and some we found out in later years. Obviously, we knew about Watergate and Richard Nixon, and certainly Lyndon Johnson in the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, and then Dwight Eisenhower on the U-2 incident when he lied to the nation on national television. And then in recent years, obviously, even President Bush and weapons of mass destruction there was also the issue John Kennedy, being involved with the coup in Vietnam and a lot of other things. What, why, I preface this question by something that a professor said to me in class, in psych 101. And it had nothing to do with what was going on the world it had to do with how people deal with each other. And that is that he, this professor said that trust is a very important quality, we must have in ourselves toward others. Because if there is, if we cannot trust anybody, we probably most likely will not be a success in life. And that always stuck with me in a 101 class. And then that was in the mid to late (19)60s when I was in college, and then all this stuff is happening. And the boomer generation has always been looked at many times as a generation that is distrustful of all leaders, no matter what position they were in, whether it be a university president, a rabbi, a priest, a head of a corporation or a politician. And certainly, college administrators, your thoughts on how important this issue of trust is, within the generation? Is this a negative that this generation did not trust? I guess what I am getting at how important the lack of trust within the boomer generation has played in their lives and passing this on to their kids and their grandkids.

56:13
RC: First of all, the lack of trust does not emanate from the boomer generation. This is something that occurred over time. And I would say that that stands with the Watergate era, where, for the first time we were confronted in our democracy, with the reality that even the people we entrust in our fair elections, to be in government, and even with all of the laws and with a rock-solid Constitution, which by the way, is I understand, the oldest constitution in the world that has survived. With that in place, if we could have such government corruption, as we witnessed in the Watergate era, where every branch of government was involved in that cover up: the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branches of government were all, and the CIA and the FBI, intelligence, were all involved in criminal conduct and in cover up of that criminal conduct. That was the first time in our nation's history where we were confronted with how far reaching that deception can be. And we have spent a great deal of time since then, devising laws that would make it more difficult for that to happen again. And yeah. In the last eight years, we saw where many of those protections that came in the wake of Watergate, were undermined and ignored and overturned by the Bush administration. And we saw more illegal wiretapping. We saw more corruption; we saw rigged election. We saw unprecedented corruption and greed. And we had none of the safeguards that it seemed we had that brought down the Nixon administration, we still have not brought down the Bush administration. Because that deception remains, as long as money controls our government to such an extent, we cannot trust anybody that we elect, because the majority of them who are in those offices are beholden to their lobbyists, and their corporations that are promising them huge golden parachutes, when they come out of Congress, and it is a one man show, every man for himself in government, and I do not view any of that trust in other people being restored. And it is not just trust in other people. But if this is a government of the people, by the people, for the people, if we have no trust in government, then we cannot trust that we the people can effect change, even in the ballot box, and so on. So, we go to public financed elections and take the money out of the realm of corporate corporations that can buy those votes, then trust will never have any hope of being restored.

59:37
SM: Music played a very important part in the lives of boomers, and you have made reference to Woodstock generation, of course Woodstock anniversary was this year, 40th anniversary and all the great musicians that were around in the (19)60s and in the early (19)70s. Your comments on how important music was in not only aiding but assisting a lot of the causes that were that the boomer generation was linked to. And of course, when we talk about this tour, we are not only talking about rock music, we are talking about Motown, which was a very popular music of this of the year, your thoughts on the musicians and music and people who were musicians, and may have had the greatest influence on the boomer generation.

1:00:26
RC: Well, you know, prior to the music that you are referring to, you know, we were listening on AM radio in the early (19)60s, to Johnny Angel, you know, and Leader of the Pact, and all these, you know, love songs and songs about rock and roll and the bandstand, you know, kind of dance music. And then suddenly, I can still remember the first time I heard Bob Dylan singing “The Times They Are A-Changin.” And it was poetry, you know, it was a method. I have never heard music like that. I have never heard a voice like that. I have never heard people just sitting down and listening to lyrics, until I got to Kent State and saw people not dancing, [inaudible], but sitting on the floor, listening to the words, the song, like, like, go, and like, you know, the folk songs would be Joni Mitchell “paving paradise and putting up a parking lot” and all of these voices telling us that things are not what they should be, and that there is a better way, and that we have a responsibility to change it. The antiwar song that came, you know just, “something happened in here, you know, there is a man with the gun over there.” You know, just the song itself “War, what is it good for?”. I mean, they, every single day, we were being challenged to think. And before that we were not, we were just, you know, kind of dumbed down to, to just feel. Feel good about what we had, feel good about our dreams and out plans but not think about anybody else in the picture. And suddenly there were these musicians that were making an entire generation aware of the ugliness of war of the unfairness of things and of the responsibilities we had to be part of what was happening, “the times they were a-changing” And it was inspirational. To watch that music not only grow in popularity, but draw half a million people to upstate New York, to celebrate the fact that, you know, we were born again, as-as, as Americans, we rejected the values of the generation before and we were going to look different. We were going to sound different. You know, we were going to wear different clothing, different hairstyles, and we were falling in love, not just with peace and music and [inaudible] but with the belief that we have in the power of people to change the world.

1:03:14
SM: That leads right into what do you think the lasting legacy will be of the boomer generation, best, the best history books, there has been a lot, a lot of great books in the (19)60s coming out right now and over the years. But historians often say that it is 50 years before the best history books start arriving on a period. So, when the boomer generation is in very old age, or is passed on, and then the best books are being written about that 1946 anon period for boomers, what do you think they are going to? What do you think the sociologists and historians might say about this generation?

1:03:52
RC: I think more than any other generation in our nation's history, we had an entire generation that was, that became what I think all college students have historically been. Because we were the generation that our relatively non-college going parents made sure would all go to college. We were like the generation that arrived on college campuses when it was affordable and when it was part of the American dream. And college campuses have traditionally been a haven for protest, a place where ideas are debated the ideas of the day are debated and where people prepare and plan to become effective participants in American society. And as part of that dream of our parents, we became more than any other generation, the conscience of America and on college campuses. When we look war in the face and said: We do not like the war, you wage in our name and we are not going, we do not care that you are drafting us, we are not going. We will go to Canada before we fight. We are not going. We will stand in the streets and lock arms in Washington and keep you from going to your businesses and keep governments from going to their offices, no business as usual. As long as this for as long as long as this war is taking our generation, and fighting something that is just unjust, we were the conscience of America. And I think that is why as I said before, it is by design since then, that they have made sure that college students today do not have the time to do the thinking and the dreaming that we had. They do not have time today, [inaudible] because we are a nation right now. Without a Conscience.

1:05:49
SM: Before I go into the last part of the interview, which is basically some of the personalities and terms of period, where we just make a few comments. This this one I would like you just do, like John Filo did when I interviewed him early summer, what was it like to be? I was not there. But in your own words, what was it like to be there on May 4, 1970, maybe just to give a little description of the day. And I remember John told me that, you know that he never planned to be there that day, he was an off-campus reporter was called to the event, was studying for working on a paper, and then he was thrust right into it. Just your thoughts of what transpired on that day, May 4, 1970.

1:06:41
RC: Well, I planned to be there. The shooting occurred in the backyard of my dormitory. But when that day started, I remember most even as we walked through the campus, looking at other cadres, as we call them, the Kent SDS was no longer but I was part of a cadre of activists that for that entire year had gone to demonstrations in Washington and Chicago and Cleveland and, and we had just gone to Ohio State to support them the Friday before when they were getting shot at with buckshot and, and tear gas. And I remember as I was walking up to the campus, and I saw another group called the Elm Street gang, and it was like, I felt as part of something significant, I felt a part of something important. We were committed to putting that war to an end, Nixon had announced the invasion of Cambodia only days before. And the campuses across this country were up in arms. students across this country were saying no to war in record breaking numbers. And it is mind boggling to me that we had such a connection to one another, from campus to campus across this country. And we did not have what kids have today, internet. We did this all with telephone long distance calls and leaflets on our own campuses. And with a media that covers what we did. We were as united on that morning, as I had ever seen anyone, I felt a part of something so much bigger than myself. It was not about an action that the crazies were going to do. It was not about an action happening on the Penn State campus. It was about a call made at Rutgers University for a National Student strike. And we were part of that we were part of something that was happening across this nation. And so, I entered the campus feeling inspired, feeling, feeling energized, feeling empowered. And even as the National Guardsmen advanced on us with tear gas again, and with the bayonets that proved, you know, so devastating to the kids who had been stabbed the night before. I never felt the sense of fear, even in the midst of all of that opposition, all of that military might, I still had trust in our lie, in America, and in our Constitution and its guarantees of the right to free speech. I still had trust that as long as we protested peacefully, they would never open fire on us. And that was a rude awakening. Which is quite an understatement, to, to see them lift their weapons in aim at us on the practice football field was shocking enough, shocking enough that as my brother walked toward them with his black flag, I walked up to Alan and said, “Alan, they are aiming right at you. Let us get out of here.” I actually said to him because it was the first time ever it had crossed my mind. Do they hate us so much that they could open fire on and even as they left the practice field and made their accent up the hill? I still watch and even as I turn them turn, even as I watched them turn in unison and lift their weapons and even as I saw the puffs of smoke. My first instinct was to run far because students at Ohio State had been shot at with buckshot. It never occurred to me; they would have lived military ammunition. And if it were not for Alan's roommate, Jimmy, who pulled me behind a parked car, I might also have been hit because as soon as we got behind the car, it was obvious that this was live ammunition was zipping by our heads and piercing the steel bodies of the cars and something into the grass to our left and the pavement to our right. It was the most horrifying 13 seconds of realization that, you know, when the gunfire ended, my first thought was, “oh my god, they shot they shot us” and then to come out from behind that car and see Bill Schroeder lying on his back with blood on his shoulder, three feet behind me and I can see over in the premise yard. My friend Sandy Scheuer, being carried with a shot a bullet through her juggler vein and then remembering where I had last seen Alan would have put him directly in the line of fire. I went running across the pavement to the foot of Blanket Hill seeing, someone lying in a pool of blood and dreading that it was Alan only to find Jeff lying in a pool of blood and then my friend Eddie running up behind me and yelling into my ear, Alan and Tom both got hit. You know that is-that is a, that is a moment that has never left me, the shock of it. The fear, the, the sound, the colors, everything is as, as vivid in my mind as it was on that day. To see American soldiers turning their guns on American people is something that I hope nobody in America will ever witness again.

1:12:12
SM: Did you go to the funerals of any of the students?

1:12:16
RC: No, I did not. We, Sandy's funeral was in Youngstown. And Allison's was in Vicksburg. They were huge media events at the time. And it was, I do not know how to explain. We were getting a lot of phone calls from press, we were getting a lot of hate mail, and death threats. Because Alan was one of the wounded. He was seen as one of the instigators and FBI was calling and whatever. It is not surprising that we all went home and stayed there for a while. We did not seek out anything, any, any of the places where the media was, I almost regret that because I think we should have been telling the truth that we knew immediately. But any of us who were really actively involved when we had our own family members, like my aunt who barged into my mother's kitchen that night, looking at Alan with his arm bandage still, from his wound, yelling, “you know, there was a sniper, you know, there was a sniper.” I mean, like to have your own family members believe that American soldiers would not turn their guns on American people without provocation and without a reason to do so. You know, you are living in a country that sees you not as a victim. But as an enemy. You do not want to- you do not want to leave the house.

1:13:50
SM: Even leading up to that weekend or over the last the two years when you were an activist at the university and going to other schools. Did you feel that you were being watched at all by, like the student leaders of Kent State were being watched by the FBI or the CIA or did you have any sense of that or was all this realization came, not trusting the government right on that day?

1:14:14
RC: I never experienced any of that paranoia until 1977. When we moved on to the campus intent to protect the May 4 site from destruction. It was during that time that it was very obvious we were being followed. I mean, there was a cop car following my-my Ford Pinto everywhere I went on that campus. We were being, we had charges dredged up against us, I was charged with criminal trespass at an action when I was on when my lawyer actually me on the good time had to-to keep me far away from Kent because they kept jailing the leaders of the May 4th coalition. There were so many trumped up charges on us in 1977 that our attorneys were successful in bringing in members of the US Justice Department to follow us around so that we had proof that we were not breaking the law. So, we could avoid having more of the trumped-up charges against us.

1:15:14
SM: When you heard about-

1:15:16
RC: That was the only time I have been paranoid about being followed.

1:15:19
SM: When you heard about Jackson State. How did you react to that? The Jackson State killings?

1:15:24
RC: Oh, well, we were not, that that was our, that is our sister in tragedy. I mean, we were still reeling from what happened to us only days later to hear that it was still happening on this campus. But what bothered me most was the outrage was, was so minimal, compared and I was not sure if it was strictly racism, or just an America too numb to care anymore. You know, because had had they had succeeded in having the chilling effect that they desired, that they could continue to shoot students, and not have any action, any reaction would be, you know, decreased rather than in-, would there be an increase? I think, I do not know if it was a test, test run, or what. But it was always, to me very tragic that the students at Jackson State, the deaths of their students at Jackson State, did not meet with the widespread protests of four white kids at Kent State.



1:16:22
SM: Thanks for sharing the experience. My note still, I can tell in your voice, when we were talking here that even brings a lot of emotion to you even now, and probably will forever.

1:16:40
RC: How Could it not, How Could it not, [Pardon] How could it not?

1:16:41
SM: Oh, yes, that is right. And again, I think I have mentioned to you and Alan, the effect that this has had all over the country that I often wonder how many people there are in the United States, who are our age who that that event on that day has shaped their lives. I wish someday-

1:17:01
RC: I would like to believe that it did not make them more reluctant to stand up for what they believe in. I would like I would like to believe that they have not taught their children more about the risks of campus activism than, you know, the historical significance and the gains of that of that activism. I think that student activism is still alive on our college campuses. I just think that, like I said before, we have made it more and more difficult for students to be there more and more students live, you know, off campus, or for have to commute or have to go to jobs, after they are, when they are not in classes that they do not congregate the way, we did. We used to hang out in the hub by hundreds every day, and play music and talk we talked about the shooting. I do not see that-

1:17:56
SM: There used to be guerrilla theater tours. But I have not seen that since I was a college student.

1:18:05
RC: I loved it, SDS always had a guerilla theater committee.

1:18:07
SM: The, the end of the interview, we are just going to be just real quick responses to, to words or terms or our names of people. Woodstock.

1:18:17
RC what do you want me to do? Come up with a word or a phrase?

1:18:21
SM: A word or just-just a couple of words and just your thoughts when you hear the, these names or terms of the (19)60s, Woodstock?

1:18:30
RC: The birth of a new era-

1:18:35
SM: 1968

1:18:39
RC: Robert Kennedy's assassination-

1:18:42
SM: Counterculture. [Woodstock] What I did not hear?

1:18:48
RC: Woodstock. [laughter] Or more the Yippies, I kind of thought of them both at the same time, the, the hippies and the Yippies-

1:18:58
SM: Yeah, that was my next, how did you know that? ESP here, that was my next one. The hippies and the Yippies.

1:19:06
RC: Counterculture.

1:18:58
SM: Students for democratic society.

1:18:58
RC: [undecipherable]:

1:18:58
SM: Weathermen?

1:19:13
RC: Absolutely, the best idea, the most organized, the most inspirational and the start of it all. If it were not for SDS at Kent the impact, May 4th would not have happened, and I do not blame them for the shooting. I blame them for the movement that brought the attention to Kent State. So, that Nixon hated Kent SDS. I think he chose Kent to be the, the martyr, the victim rather, Kent to be the, I take that back. He chose Kent to send, as the place to send his message that student protests will not be tolerated because of SDS. They were, they were the most significant, organized catalyst for the student anti-war movement in this country-

1:20:12
SM: The Weathermen?

1:20:15
RC: Well, I would just say, not misinformed, what was I, there is a word I am thinking of misguided. [chuckles]

1:20:25
SM: The Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

1:20:29
RC: Powerful. Powerful. They were among us. We had friends who came home from Vietnam and joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War and VVAW. And they walked alongside us, they were with us, they were shot at with us. I had one friend with his dog tags still around his neck, who survived the shooting at Kent said he was more afraid on May 4th than he ever was in Vietnam. So, they played a very significant role joining our protests and-and I think giving-giving credibility to the anti-war movement.

1:21:04
SM: How about the Young Americans for Freedom? I am not sure if you are aware of that group.

1:21:08
RC: I do not remember who they were.

1:21:10
SM: They were the conservative group that was against the war.

1:21:13
RC: I did not, I obviously, I think that now that you say that I do have a vague recollection of them. I did not pay much attention to them. I do not I do not remember having any experience with them. I do not remember them having a viable presence on the campus. I only remember hearing about them. And so, I felt detached from them.

1:21:33
SM: The enemies list?

1:21:36
RC: Oh, well, I would say we probably have a bigger one now.

1:21:43
SM: Abbie Hoffman-

1:21:46
RC: You know what? I have, I have a very positive reaction when I hear the name of Abbie Hoffman, because he and Jerry Rubin and the Yippies, and the Chicago Eight, I think did more to, for publicity. Did more to give a face and establish the humaneness to the anti-war movement. We were not just, you know, a bunch of radical, you know, to the cause. I mean, I think people always had a tendency to believe that anybody that protested was like the labor movement, the civil rights movement, just this group of people that had that had like, a single agenda, sort of thing. When, when the Yippies came on the scene and Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman and the Chicago A they brought humor to it, and they made people relate to it. You know, everybody knows what it means to be to be treated unfair, and to have things not make sense when someone tries to justify that unfairness. And I think nobody brought that to light more than Abbie Hoffman during the Chicago Eight trials. I mean, people who would never pay attention to anything involving both sides, reading and laughing and following what was going on there. And I think they are by learning things they otherwise might not have learned about. American injustice.

1:23:15
SM: That is amazing. Because just today when I interviewed Rennie, he talked about Abbie and in one of the MOBE events where they were facing 20- (audio cuts out).

1:23:28
RC: I mean it is like the whole Doonesbury, you know, that they play, you know, cartoonists, and then there are people will never read the front page about war, but they will read the cartoons and they will learn about the war. You know, Abbie, Abbie, played that role. [How Bout…] I think, I think brought a lot more people to the movement because of his humor and how he, you know, made it a human experience. And, you know, like, that, people were just so ruled by that with television sitcoms were so big at the time, whatever it became like watching a television sitcom every day.

1:24:02
SM: Right. Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda?

1:24:07
RC: A perfect match for a perfect time. [chuckles] I, I admire both of them. I never understood Jane Fonda going the Christian route when she did, but you know, I remember the wonderful work she did with the winter soldiers. And I always admired Tom Hayden and I always saw him and Rennie as the intellectuals in the Chicago Eight. And I, I always I have, I have long admired Tom Hayden and his continued activism. And I just think that the time when he and Jane Fonda were working together was, was a very important time for two brilliant minds to work in concert.

1:24:50
SM: Yeah, I came to Kent State with those students from OU (Ohio University) the year that they came to Kent State, it goes the fourth anniversary [yeah], and I was in a room with them. They were walking around the campus, and we were in this small room, and I do not remember what building, but we were in there for an hour talk and they were great. The Black Panthers, which was Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis, the Cleavers, Kathleen and Eldridge. Just your thoughts on black power and the black power movement.

1:25:18
RC: I will tell you I admired the Black Power movement when I moved to Boston right after May 4, the one because I stayed involved with, I left after Kent State and moved to Boston, with the intent to get away from politics. I was so disillusioned with what I just witnessed that I did not want to be part of anything political for a while. But the one organization that I visited, when I was sitting in Cambridge, I was walking down by the Charles River, and I saw the storefront for the Black Panther Party, and I went over there, because they had a profound impact on me in in understanding the plight of black Americans that that was much more serious than anything I have seen through the eyes of Martin Luther King. You know, I mean, I, I was always aware of the civil rights movement, and always impressed and inspired by those that follow Dr. King, but it was the Black Panther Party that showed us a darker side of racism in this country, and really illustrated, you know, how many blacks were being gunned down in their communities and the atrocities, you know, committed by the Oakland Police and it was a I was kind of educated when the Oakland Police came to recruit at Kent State. And SDS protested vehemently. That was my first exposure to the Black Panther Party and everything that they did in their neighborhoods, with their breakfast programs and their protection programs and whatever, to me, was every bit as impressive as everything I have seen in SDS

1:26:55
SM: Let us get straight into Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.

1:27:01
RC: Oh, well, you know, they both played a very, very important role in the lives of African Americans because even though you know, there were most of the people followed Dr. Martin Luther King's advice about keeping protest peaceful and whatever, Malcolm X also legitimized, you know, protecting yourself and doing what, what is absolutely necessary to protect your family. And, you know, he, he put a face on government as a violent government in a way that Martin Luther King did not in his rhetoric. And, you know, I think that that was an important, that was important awareness to the edibility went one step further than Martin Luther King, because there were some that knew that they had grown more weary of, of just marching and petitioning. There were others that realize we have got to be a lot more proactive in meeting the man face to face. Malcolm X played that role.

1:28:03
SM: Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew.

1:28:09
RC: Oh god, criminal-criminal, Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew laid the groundwork for the bloodshed at Kent and Jackson State, Nixon called campus protesters, Agnew called, likened us to Nazis and Klansmen. Okay, they inspired those to, inspired the rhetoric of Governor Reagan who said if these students want a bloodbath, let us get it over with then Governor Rhodes at, in Ohio. He said these are worse than the night riders and vigilantes. He is the worst type of people we harbor in America. It is over within Ohio. We are not going to treat the symptoms we are going to eradicate the problem. It began with Nixon and Agnew's dehumanizing us and treating us as, as what we would be seen as today as terrorists. And then with Reagan and Rhodes following suit, it was easy for armed gunman to come on our campus and not see us as idealistic youth, but to see us instead, as target and as an enemy in a combat situation. I blame them for the deaths at Kent state and Jackson State.

1:29:19
SM: Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara.

1:29:22
RC: Well, I had some very negative feelings, well negative feelings about both good feelings about Johnson when it came to civil rights, negative feelings about Johnson when it came to the Vietnam War. Negative feelings about Robert McNamara for living a lie as long as he did about the Vietnam War when he knew the truth that it was unwinnable. But when everyone was chastising him for coming out with the truth with his book later, when he admitted that, that people died for nothing in Vietnam, while other people were, were shunning him. I said, You know what, how many people have gone to their grave like Nixon and Agnew with the truth that they knew and never told that before, before they died, Robert McNamara could you know, truth at any time is valuable to me, truth at any time means something to me. And so, it was easier to forgive McNamara, because he owned up to his mind while he was still alive, so I have some respect for a man that I thought only was the same for many decades.

1:30:23
SM: The two Kennedy’s, John Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy.

1:30:25
RC: I love the Kennedy’s. I mean, for all the faults of John F. Kennedy that have come out in the history books since then. I do not ever remember being more inspired. And, you know, seeing I mean, I never saw the White House through those kinds of eyes until they were in there. They, it was a focus on family and focus on civil rights, a focus on America, the values of America that were always in our history books, and that seemed to disappear with his assassination. And then more so, even more so in the assassination of his brother, who I think was the better of the two. I still cannot watch films of Bobby Kennedy and seeing him riding on the train. I sobbed for days afterwards. Whenever I watch any live footage of Bobby speaking and campaigning, before he died. I was so I am so affected by it, it is too painful for me.

1:31:28
SM: Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern.

1:31:32
RC: Oh, Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern. Well, you know, they were there, it is hard to even say anything definitive about them. They were, I would say they were important candidates to the anti-war movement, because they were politicians who campaigned on anti, anti-war agendas. But I never felt that they were strong enough candidates, they all paled in comparison to the Kennedys. So that is all I remember, was never really feeling like we had to return to the strength of the candidates that we had before them.

1:32:10
SM: Timothy Leary.

1:32:13
RC: Oh, Timothy Leary. I worked at Harvard while he was still there. Now there was some- this guy's had a lot to do with painting the image of the Woodstock generation as just a bunch of drug crazed hippies. So, I do not know, to me he was just a Harvard professor who, who was played a significant role in branding the Woodstock generation as a generation where drug use was rampant, kind of delegitimize and seem to glorify that whole as the generation, psychedelic generation, so I, I do not see him as being political, even though he was part of the anti-war movement. I more associate him with drugs that would change.

1:33:10
SM: How about George Wallace and Ronald Reagan?

1:33:16
RC: George Wallace I think I think of him as a racist, still. Ronald Reagan, I see him as a joke. I never I do not know how people can continue to praise a presidency where maybe he as an individual did so little. Ronald Reagan was made out to be a great president, after his death by a right-wing media that decided to create an icon. So I see them both as. I think George Wallace was significant in in polarizing the south, and I see Reagan was significant, showing that we are our values. Our, our selectivity for president's presidential candidate was continuing to decline significantly

1:34:09
SM: Which leads into just Jerry Ford and Jimmy Carter.

1:34:13
RC: Jerry Ford, I just thing of Chevy Chase, when I think of Jerry Ford, my strongest recollections of Jerry Ford are tripping and falling and standing up at state dinners and on his own two feet still falling over. Jerry Ford was a pasty. Jerry Ford was president only because he agreed to pardon Nixon. He was a sellout and a cop out. And probably one of the worst presidents we have ever had. Who was the other one you just asked? Jimmy Carter. You know, he had the presidency at an awful time. I think he took the reins at a time when we were on the verge of a terrible recession. And I was living in New York at the time we were waiting in gas lines, and I think he is probably one of the most misunderstood presidents. And he was just like Reagan being defined after his presidency. Jimmy Carter really became the president that I think people hoped they were electing. Afterwards, I admire him tremendously for the work that he has done with Habitat for Humanity and world peace, promoting world peace, he is certainly deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize. And I was never more proud of him than when he was the first what was happening in Congress with calling Obama a liar, racism or the racism that was, I have, I have as much respect for him as one of the few-

1:35:40
SM: Daniel Ellsberg and Benjamin Spock.

1:35:45
RC: You know, I think of them as being again icons in the anti-war movement. Daniel Ellsberg. And he is when you think about the Pentagon Papers, and the role that they played, that was huge in bringing Middle America to understand what took Robert McNamara how long to tell the truth about that we were lying. We had done what we have come to do so well, today, lied America into an unjust war and sacrifice an entire generation of youth for that lie. Ellsberg Put his, his life and freedom on the line to get that truth, tremendous respect for him. And Benjamin Spock was, again, you know, when you have professional people like that, who have a good life and a good reputation, and then they create a whole new image of themselves as part of an anti-war movement. I think that was a bold response and he suffered a lot of criticism and was misunderstood a great deal. But again, like Abbie Hoffman, these are people that all were responsible for bringing a certain awareness from a certain segment of the population to the anti-war movement, they all played a part.

1:36:58
SM: That brings right into Daniel and Philip Berrigan, the Berrigan brothers and Barry Goldwater.

1:37:05
RC: I would say, Berrigans’, same as above, they played a significant role, and everybody has their part to play in the anti-war movement, but Barry Goldwater was probably one of the only republicans that that understood the danger of the kind of partisan politics that we see today. Because it was probably the last of the great Republicans who could work in a bipartisan way in Congress and who truly did see the danger of the military industrial complex, like Eisenhower was not as good a Republican, I do not think. But Barry Goldwater was a brilliant man and a humanitarian. And even though I have never ever in my life supported a Republican, I think he was one of the last ones that truly stood up to traditional republican values.

1:38:09
SM: How about John Dean? I am almost done. John Dean.

1:38:12
RC: John Dean, one of the greatest contributors, were it not for John Dean, I do not think we would know as much as the truth of Watergate that we do. And more importantly, is being at the heart of the Watergate scandal has done, has given him a perspective unlike any other Americans in how much more corrupt the Bush administration was, how much more they were able to get to get away with because they, they, you know, they could act, they did not have to worry about the tape that exposed Nixon, they made sure they went through the Republican National Committee with their secret email system that probably cost the life of what was his name, Mike McConnell, who died mysteriously in a plane crash in December, because he knew the extent of that it was called [inaudible]. Libyan underground communication system, but we know about-about Watergate, mostly because of John Dean's brilliant I mean, he is-he is a brilliant writer. He is a brilliant and-and probably one, what it is said that book that he just wrote, oh, “Conservatives without Conscience.”

1:39:04
SM: He wrote “Worse than Watergate too-

1:38:12
RC: He Wrote “Worse than Watergate,” which is very good, but his book “conservatives without conscience” more than any book I have ever read about republicans helped me to understand the difference between a Goldwater Republican Reagan Republican, Cheney Republican, and Bush Republicans. He knows theory and he know research on authoritarian personalities and the danger of having authoritarian personalities in positions of high office-office, where if you do not have a conscience, people will suffer and die and pay a huge price for your greed and corruption. And it made my blood went cold when I read his book because I realized the extent to which we had authoritarian personalities in high positions of office in the Bush administration. John Dean is, I was, I would campaign for him for President if he were ever to run.

1:40:31
SM: He lives in California. I think right now, but he comes to DC a lot.

1:40:36
RC: I think he may, he may be one of the most brilliant critical writers of our time.

1:40:40
SM: You know, he is from Binghamton, New York.

1:40:42
RC: One with-with more insight into the inner workings of government than anybody. He should be on. It should be on any advisory staff in the White House.

1:40:52
SM: But he is good. I have seen him on TV. The women, Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, Betty Friedan.

1:41:00
RC: You know what, all these women played a role in legitimizing women in positions of power, women in positions of influence. You know, I mean when I think of Bella Abzug, I think of her hat. But I also really think of just, I mean, I have never seen a woman with-with so much strength and-and could just to speak off the cuff like that, you know, I mean, she was just, it was a mover and a shaker. You know, Gloria Steinem did a lot for the women's movement and continues to write, I think, some pretty brilliant treatises on, on the role of women, I was so glad to see her coming out. With I think Gloria Steinem take on women, and the role of women in politics in particular, is exactly what we have seen the opposite of what Sarah Palin.

1:41:53
SM: Oh, yes,

1:41:54
RC: we need we need more analysis so that women understand when they are being misled by men to use token women to convey a man's message. There is no question in my mind. For example, the Sarah Palin is today the Stepford wife of Dick Cheney.

1:42:13
SM: [laughter] Now that is another magic moment.

1:42:16
RC: There is no question about it. Because, Cheney, if you notice, as soon as Obama was elected, he came out, and he kept talking, he went, he made his rounds on all the talk shows, and then everybody was kind of laughing at him, like, “go away Dick, your policies were voted out.” So then, mysteriously, he started using his daughter, his gay daughter, and who's the other one, Liz? Liz Cheney.

1:42:40
SM: Yes-yes. She is on TV a lot. Yeah.

1:42:44
RC: It is like, where do these women come from, they were never spokesperson for the Republican Party or for any political agenda. They were never political. But suddenly, they had all of these talking points. And it was like, I truly believe in, and logic tells me this and everything I am seeing tells this, Dick Cheney spent eight years using George Bush for his talking points. So, all he had left was two girls in his family that he could put out there. And then, they say right before the right before and right after Sarah Palin gave up her governorship, she was on the phone with Cheney. I think it was orchestrated by Cheney; I think he was educating her. I think he was handing her, her talking points. I think he was- he was behind everything. Every single- everything she was doing all these things, and still trying to run the country [indecipherable] still be a significant following of women [indecipherable]-

1:43:49
SM: What, what do you see in the two Boomer presidents that are that are linked to the qualities of boomers and that is Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

1:43:59
RC: Oh, I have never thought of George W. Bush as a boomer is that terrible. I have always seen him as this. Otherworldly. Bill Clinton is brilliant. I always say his wife, is the more brilliant of the two. When I read her book, “Living History.” I imagine what it must have been like for her the second time he sat down on her bed and said we have to talk about his ridiculous, you know, discretion with you know, women are not weak in that way. I am sorry. I have to say it, a spade a spade here. You do not see women leaders experiencing the shortcomings when it comes to setting, you know, women discretions, as we have seen with governors and-and people like Bill Clinton, you know, who risk so much in there, he was doing such important work. And he was effecting such important change, that he did not know how easy it would be to fall. If it were known those kinds of indiscretions in the White House and such, you know, in a public place like that, that I think somebody like a Hillary knows that and understands that, and I am not I do not need to minimize it to it just being a point of who is stronger. That is not succumbing to sexual pressure and advances in temptation. But in reading about their political walk together, she always struck me as the more knowledgeable, the more decisive, the more inquisitive, and the more strong, person between the two, but you know, things being a as they may, women were not seen in the same light as men. And so, he was the one elected unfortunately, rather than her, I think it would have been a different America, had she got into the White House before him. And I will support her when she runs next. So, I have a lot of respect for Bill Clinton, I lost a lot of respect for him because he just was so stupid about little things that overshadowed his brilliance on such big things. But George W. Bush is not a self-made man. He is a father, you know, he is a Bush family made. man. He is an idiot. He cannot string two sentences together. I do not think he had an original idea when he was in the White House. And I think that he did not win either election. I think both of them were stolen and he was a pasty of Dick Cheney the whole time. This was all the neoconservative dogfight, Dick Cheney, all of those people from the original PNAC, you know, Progress for New American Century, ran our government for eight years. And George Bush was their patsy.

1:46:44
SM: Down to my last two questions. One is the books of the year, when you were in college, were you or were any of your peers’ reading books that had an influence on you? Were there authors or-

1:46:57
RC: You know, authors that had a tremendous influence on me were Bernard Shaw, I remember when my brothers got their draft notices, as I was reading a lot of what Bernard Shaw was saying, just to understand the historical context for the war in Vietnam, when I actually started to imagine my brothers being sent off to Southeast Asia to fight, I kind of wanted to know where it all began, I knew that I wanted to do the play a part in keeping them from going, but I also knew the importance of knowing what I was talking about. Because even as I said, I was against the war, I was really only saying I was against my brother's going, and I was not able to articulate a reason why. And so, I remember reading a lot of things by Bernard Shaw, but I would say, without question, it was a lot of what was happening in the papers, the newspapers were a critical part of my, of my newspapers and television were a critical part of my growing sense of dissatisfaction with the war with my growing awareness of the wrongness of it. And I really do believe that the Chicago Seven Trials, eventually the Chicago Eight Trials were instrumental, those books, like “do it” and feel this book. Again, were very, very, they were fun to read. And they were inspirational. They made it seem not just important to be part of the movement, but fun and cool. To be part of the movement-

1:48:26
SM: Particularly when, when remember when Jerry Rubin went in, into the bank.

1:48:31
RC: Yeah.

1:48:32
SM: Yeah, he wanted to go to the bathroom. And they said, you get out of here, and he went right in the middle of the bank. [laughter]

1:48:38
RC: I know, and people laugh at that, and they become heroes for dropping out and, you know, turning on as they said, and so I would say that those were very important influence.

1:48:53
SM: The last question I have because we have been talking about the (19)60s and the (19)70s and everything afterwards but the (19)50s and you mentioned about you know, being around your parents and the labor union talking at the dinner table and everything but what kind of an influence did the (19)50s have on you it was portrayed as the era where the World War II generation want give everything to their kids because they grew up in the depression and then they went through war and they wanted the kids to have everything many of them are boomers were the first ones to ever go to college. People, we watched television, the black and white TV, we watched Howdy Doody, Rootie Kazootie and all the kids, the TV shows and everything about family and seemed like everybody was happy and-and then of course, the Mickey Mouse Club and TV westerns and of course we have read about those in recent years how been the good guys and the bad guys and we have portrayed to a lot of the boomers and the Indians being the bad guys, but just your overall. Well, how did the (19)50s shape you, you know, and I have always wondered that because you got to talk about the (19)50s when you were talking about boomers.

1:50:07
RC: Well, I had to stay at home mom, like most of the kids. You know, I, I went to school in Barberton, a working-class town where it was, it was an anomaly if anybody's mother work. I used to- I remember saying to my mother, what, you know, I am so proud that you were a nurse, why do not you go back into nursing, I would have been very, very proud to have a working mother, but she said, no, your father wants me to stay home with the kids. My mother never drove a car, I had to sneak to take drivers training, so that I could drive a car, because my father believed that women shouldn't drive cars and his answer was always your mother does not drive, you do not need to drive. So, you know, I not only had that very personal influence that women's places in the home and women do not have mobility upward or even outward, they have to rely on a man to get around they have to rely on a man for everything. But I also had, you know, the influence of television which you know, had the- you know, Ward Cleaver and-and June you know, where even when it came to making important decisions about the children or the home, it was always “wait till your father gets home,” she could never decide anything for herself Ward had to always kind of put everything into perspective. And he was the intelligent one. And even the few role models that I had, like on Sky King, you know, you had Penny, who also could fly but of course, she had to, you know, rely on-on, you know, her uncle for whenever things got tough. So, women could, women could be involved in things, but they could not run things. And for the most part, I grew up in, I, we lived right next door to the high school. And so, my greatest aspirations were not to be the valedictorian of my school, even though I was in gifted classes from the time I was in fourth grade, but to be what look like television wanted us to be, you know, with the Miss America pageant, showing that we are supposed to be pretty and complacent. And so American and I would always sit on my porch and watch the girls arriving for prom and homecoming with their gowns and watch the cheerleaders practicing and the major at marching. You know, with that sizing, when I first went off that can say that I wanted to just be an extension of what I was in high school, I tried out for cheerleader Kent State. I tried out for the [inaudible], I instantly got involved in social activities. And I was the social chairman for my dorm, planning the rowboat regatta and passing out lollipops and roses to the tune of Burt Bacharach with my brother and his friends came marching through Lake Hall, honest to God, “champion 1234 we do not want your fucking war.” And I called my brother just devastated: How could you do that? You ruined my moment. You know, we are playing Burt Bacharach and passing lollipops and roses, talking to little sisters and they are talking, you know, throwing the F bomb and talking about war. And, you know, I desperately in the first year at Kent State hung on to that upbringing and that stereotype that I was conditioned to become a mindless, you know, complacent girl who, you know, even if I had the presence of mind to get myself to college, I was only going to be a teacher or a secretary or a librarian, you know, and I certainly was not going to be an anti-war activist or have thought of my own.




1:53:33
SM: Very well said, I had no more questions. Is there a question that I did not ask that you thought I might ask?

1:53:43
RC: I had no idea that I had no idea what you are writing or what you are looking for. I just responded saying that I can, with far, far more words than I prefer. But so, I hope you'll choose the best. And not make me look like a long-winded attorney-

1:53:58
SM: No, it is all every see, every interview has been different. And sometimes I do not even ask all the same questions in each of the interviews. So, you are the 85th person and then Alan. Alan, I actually interviewed him a little bit when he was at Westchester University, but he was, it was 30 minutes and then he had to go to dinner with us. And so, then that so-

(End of Roseann Chic Canfora’s Interview)

(Start of Alan Canfora’s Interview)

1:53:58
SM: The first question I want to ask and first off, thanks again for agreeing to be interviewed. What was it in your personal background? You are growing up years in the (19)50s. Was there something that happened in your life that made you become an activist? Was there something even before what happened at Kent State?

1:54:51
AC: I think I became a compassionate person because of my father and my mother. They were both World War II veteran my father lost his right eye in an accident in the Philippine Islands at age 19 when he was in the army, and he then went into a hospital, ultimately Battle Creek, Michigan, where he met my mother, she was an Army nurse. My father became a union organizer and leader starting in the 1950s, that your aerospace in Akron where he was a union worker at Goodyear. He became active in the liberal movement as a union organizer and activist. But then he went on to the Barberton city council as a democratic City Councilman in 1964. I think I gained some compassion from my mother, who was a nurse, and political activism from my father, who was a union organizer and a liberal democratic politician.

1:55:47
SM: How did you pick Kent State? Did you were you thinking of other colleges or knew was that the one was always on your mind?

1:55:54
AC: Well, I went to Kent State because it is nearby in my hometown of Barberton and where I still live. It is about 13 miles to the east. And most of my high school friends were all going to Akron University, which is about maybe five miles away. So, I wanted to get away from my high school friends, and they wanted to go someplace new. So, I really chose Kent State also, because I had attended some basketball games there. While I was in high school on some high school, regional and district championship basketball games. I thought it was a beautiful campus and a lovely little city. And that was another reason I chose again-

1:56:35
SM: What was your major there?

1:56:37
AC: Well, I started out as a prelaw major, and then I transferred into education and business. I made a few changes concerning my major and then I finally ended up with a bachelor's degree of general studies. No major.

1:56:56
SM: Besides your parents, who were obviously role models, did you have any political figures or historical figures from your readings in high school or that you really looked up to? Like that may have been mentors as well?

1:57:11
AC: Can you repeat the question please?

1:57:13
SM: Were there, when you were in high school or when you were young, were there any other mentors like either historical figures or political leaders or people you read about when you were young that inspired you?

1:57:24
AC: Well, no doubt John F. Kennedy, President Kennedy inspired me. My family visited Washington. Soon after he was elected. Around 1961, we went on a vacation to Washington, and we stood outside the White House, and we idolized President Kennedy, before and after he was assassinated. But I think his assassination in particular, had an impact on me to follow in my father's footsteps. Later on, that my dad became a city councilor in 1964, shortly after President Kennedy was killed, and I always paid attention to politics. For example, in 1957, my earliest political memory is kneeling at the side of my bed praying, that Adlai Stevenson would defeat Dwight Eisenhower for president in 1956. [oh my gosh] Actually, yeah, and because my dad was always a Democrat, and I can remember he was watching the presidential conventions in 56 and 60 and 64. So I was always very political minded. And I really prefer the democrats greatly over the Republicans, always My father always said to me that the worst democrat is better than the best Republicans. And I took that to heart. I just kind of idolized the Democratic politicians. But on the on the literary side, I also started reading a lot of Edgar Allan Poe, when I was around in the seventh grade. And so, I read a lot about Edgar Allan Poe, and I read a lot about his life. And I always thought that I would like to be a writer. Try to write in the style of Edgar Allan Poe. And so, I was fascinated by his style of writing.

1:59:08
SM: When you think you know, this is mostly a lot about the boomers and the (19)60s and (19)70s. But, you know, the boomers when they were in their elementary school years, it was the (19)50s. And was there something during the (19)50s besides your parents now, how important was television in your life? in those early years when you were in elementary school, particularly with the television shows there were so many westerns on television at that time? Well with the good guy and the bad guy and the bad guy was always being the Native American or the Indian. But then we had Howdy Doody and the-the Mouseketeers. Was there anything- it almost seems like, and I liked your perception on this, that it was children were so protected by their parents during the (19)50s. Even though we were going through the Cold War, it seemed like such a happy time. Your thoughts on that?

2:00:03
AC: Yes, I think the (19)50s were very enjoyable years for my family. My father had a very good job as a union worker at goodyear, he had a good paycheck and good health benefits. We were living in a house that my parents were buying downtown Barberton, the backyard was a double size compared to all the other lots in downtown Barberton. And so, we had a huge backyard, where we were constantly playing baseball, and football and then we would go down to the playground to play basketball during the fall months. So constantly, we were playing sports. Now at the same time. We did spend a lot of time indoors watching television, and also going to the movies, the movie theater was only about three or four blocks away, it cost a nickel or a dime to get in. And we had walked down there, the streets in Barberton and were very safe to just walk around everywhere. It was a town of about 33,000. It was most industrialized city in Ohio per capita, a lot of factories, and most of my friends or parents or fathers worked in factories as mine did. So, it was an idyllic childhood. Really, I have no complaints whatsoever. But we go to the movies all the time. And I can remember seeing the movie High Noon and a lot of monster movies and a lot of cartoons, very enjoyable weekends going to the movie theaters, but during the week we watch a lot of television. Yes, we watched the Mickey Mouse Club. I remember in the (19)50s and (19)60s also watching a lot of Band Stand, American Band Stand, which stimulated by music, my interest in music and my parents always had on the radio WHAR radio in Akron, which is where Alan Freed had his radio show broadcast his first rock and roll program on the radio. In fact, he coined the term rock and roll. And my parents were very much into rock and roll they loved it. They would often jitterbug around in the living room. My parents were good dancers. And so, we just had constantly had music playing we had the TV on but in particular, I think the Mickey Mouse Club stands out a lot of cowboy TV shows but also, American Bandstand. We love to watch the young people of Philadelphia dancing on TV. And that was a lot of fun.

2:02:15
SM: When you think of the (19)60s and the early (19)70s, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

2:02:20
AC: Well, in the early (19)60s, I remember before the Beatles we had a lot of the American bands, would refer to the girl groups, the Shirelles, the Shangri La's, bands like that. We used to sit there in my junior high school classes. We would go to lunch, and they would play music at noon, and the girls would go on the gym floor dancing around to this music. And I just remember, you know, starting to take an interest in girls, I was very popular in school I along with my sister, we were both in the major Work Program, which was for the intellectually advanced classes, the gifted program they call it, so we went to the same schools with the, you know, the regular students who were all our friends and my sister was very popular. And so, as I and we have, you know, we have participated in school functions, I was always on different sports teams and, but I played baseball professionally, I was the captain of the Little League All Star team. One of the best players in the league, I was not only on the all-star team, but I was the captain of the all-star game when I was 12. And then I, I played Little League Baseball when I was 10, 11 and 12. And then when I was 13, 14 and 15, I play what they call senior Little League Baseball. I was by the time I was 15 for that league, I was also the captain of the all-star team there. So, I had leadership skills. I look back on it. Now of course, I am a political leader in my hometown. I am the chairman of the Democratic Party for the last 17 years. But I think I really did learn my leadership skills as a baseball player on the baseball diamonds. I remember I remember a lot of playing baseball, attending elementary school, junior high school, the I remember the launch in elementary school, the launch of the satellites and the Sputniks and all that that really created a big interest in my mind concerning science. And I had a great interest in that all through my school year, as well as both during-during junior high, then the Beatles, of course came when I was in ninth grade the British Invasion of music and that had a big impact on the instead of letting my hair grow a little bit long I think 1964, (19)65 trying to copy the Beatles and of course, we listened to all the Beatle albums, we knew all the words and everybody was just fascinated by the British music but also when the Rolling Stones started playing I started gravitating more liking the Rolling Stones more than the Beatles and that was kind of unusual in my hometown. Everybody else heard the Beatles. I kind of like the bad boys and the Rolling Stones.

2:04:46
SM: Is there is there one specific event and I remember I said ask this to your sister yesterday and-and I know that what happened on May 4th is probably the most, the biggest event in your life but when you think of, is there one specific event in your life that had the greatest influence on you before what happened at Kent State?

2:05:10
AC: I cannot think of one, Steve No, quite honestly, I think it was just kind of, I am trying to think of the proper word here. I mean, I had a very colorful and eventful life, a very enjoyable life. I Just cannot think of one, no.

2:05:29
SM: One of the things over the years and you have watched television, you are up to date on politics. In 1994, when Newt Gingrich came into power, and republicans came into power, I can remember him commenting on the (19)60s in the (19)70s, and really attacking the entire boomer generation, he loved, he loved to do that. George Will done quite often in his written articles, anytime he can get a shot back at the boomer generation. And basically, what they are saying is that the breakdown of American society all happened because of what happened in the (19)60s and (19)70s. Regarding the drug culture, problems between blacks, blacks and whites in America, the lack of respect for authority, all the break or divorce rate, permissive society, not trusting anybody in positions of responsibility. So, your comments on the Gingrich’s and the George Wills who, anytime they have a chance they are going to shoot back to that period and really condemn the boomers.

2:06:33
AC: Well Steve, I understand perfectly what you are saying, of course, you are referring to the culture wars,

2:06:36
SM: Right?

2:06:38
AC: People, these conservatives, these republicans, they love to rewrite history, in a distorted way, they are revisionist, in the worst sense of the word. They can focus on the negative aspects of the (19)60s. And I know David Horowitz is the lead cheerleader in that regard. But I would like to point out that we also had in the (19)50s, in the (19)60s, gross racism, sexism was rampant, homophobia reigned supreme, those were primitive years in our culture. And for some people in the 1950s and (19)60s, it was starting, I think, with Elvis, and starting with rock and roll in the (19)50s, that young people started to take a stand and blaze their own trail. And this really perturbed conservatives and people like Newt Gingrich and people like George, well, it wish- it was still Ozzie and Harriet in America forever, but those days are gone. People stood up, people blaze their own trail, they started listening to their own music, wearing their own clothing. And the young people in particular, led the way in forging the new cultural traditions in America. And the people that prefer the old 1930s, (19)40s, and (19)50s, the primitive conservative religious culture, those years are gone. And they are upset about that. And they always complain. And it is too bad for them, because those years are gone forever. Now, you did ask me about one event that did change my opinion in the 1960s. And I do remember, you kind of caught me off guard there for a moment, but I would like to say what I think entirely changed my path was, as I mentioned, I always watched the convention, the political convention. Not much the republicans but the democrats starting in 1956, (19)60s, (19)64. Well, let me say, Steve, in 1968, when I was sitting in my parents living room on Newell Street in downtown Barberton, and I was 19 years old. I was I had just finished my first year of college, and I was watching the Democratic Convention. And I saw 1000s of students beaten in the streets of Chicago. Live on television, I was shocked. I was appalled. I knew there was going to be a demonstration there I read about in the newspapers. But I was completely overwhelmed with anger. When I saw those Chicago policemen crushing the skulls of the young boys and girls in Chicago, I will never forget the feeling that I had that. I knew at that moment, I was going to join those protests, I was turning against the war in Vietnam, in a very slow way, in an evolutionary sort of way. During my first year in college, another significant event, yes, I do remember this one. I was sitting in one of my first political science classes as a freshman. And the professor was talking about the war in Vietnam almost every day and in a negative way he was he was against the war in Vietnam. And so were several of the students in the class. Most of the students in the class were like me just sitting there listening, trying to absorb this new information, which we never considered before, antiwar opinions and believe me when I was in Barberton, until I graduated from high school, I never heard a single person object to the war in Vietnam, not one. And I was for the war in Vietnam. I totally supported our troops and the government. I never thought for a minute the government would do anything against the interests of our people. That was how naive and trusting that I was because of my upbringing. With my mother and father both being World War II veterans, loving our country and loving the military, I was not against the military or government at all. Until my freshman year when I started hearing, my political science professor and some, a few of my fellow students are passionately arguing against the war. And one day this this one young kid in the class said, during his opinion statements he was making that day, he looked around the classroom and he goes, for example- [audio cuts]
I will never forget that moment. And I was, I felt days, because I had never considered whether or not I was going to make up my own mind about Vietnam. I love my government, the newspapers, my teachers, my parents, I let others think for me until that day, and I really was done. I remember, I walked out of that classroom after the class was over, I walked out to my car, which was a 1957 Chevy. And I sat in my car for about 15 minutes. in kind of a dazed state, thinking, oh, my God, I have to think for myself, I have to make up my mind about this important issue of war in Vietnam. I was thinking about my friends who were over there at the time, my schoolmates, my baseball, fellow baseball players and others who were in Vietnam at that time. And that was 1967 in October, I believe. I was greatly changed by that one particular day in my political science class, where I realized I had to start thinking for myself. And then from there on out after that, after, during the fall of (19)67, the winter of (19)68, going into the spring of (19)68, I was evolving, slowly, letting my hair grow longer, still listening to a lot of rock and roll music, and starting to change my opinions about the war in Vietnam. In 1968, in August, when I saw the Democratic Convention, that was it, that was the that was the determining factor, which really compelled me then to decide to join the antiwar movement. And as fate would have it, the next month after the Democratic Convention was when I moved into the dormitory on the Kent State campus, a campus address in Johnson Hall. And two weeks later, I did join the campus SDS.

2:12:21
SM: Very well put, it leads right into my next question. And if you were, I asked this to your sister yesterday too. If you were in an auditorium at Kent State University, and with a with a group of boomer generation, student people who had gone to college at that particular time from all over the country. So, it is not just Kent State, it is that students from other parts of the country. And do you, they were asked what is the one event that may have shaped their lives more than any other? And this is thinking outside the box even beyond you, what would you think most boomers would say?

2:12:59
AC: I say they probably say the war in Vietnam. I think they might, they might say the assassination of President Kennedy. Well, and I really do believe my own heart. I think it was the assassination of President Kennedy. That event does stand out. Also, as far as your earlier question. I remember, I was in ninth grade, I was sitting in my Latin class at Highland junior high school, November 22, 1963, when suddenly the loudspeaker came on. Without any introductory comment by the school officials. It just went right to a radio broadcast from Dallas, Texas, announcing the President Kennedy had been shot. And then a few minutes later, then President Kennedy was dead. My Latin teacher, Mrs. Barker, burst into tears in front of our class, she was sitting at her desk. And she said to our class, you young people, remember this day, she says, I have seen things like this before in the past, she goes, suddenly history changes, events change, politics changes. She says you do not know what is coming. She goes, I do not know what is coming. But she said, I think this is going to mark a great change for the worst for our country. And she was sobbing. [wow] So that had a big effect on me when I was sitting there at age 15.


2:14:22
SM: When did the (19)60s begin in your eyes? And what would you believe was the watershed moment?

2:14:29
AC: The 1960s? I would say two things. The assassination of President Kennedy and the Chicago convention of 1968. [agreement]

2:14:38
SM: Describe the qualities that you, you are a boomer but obviously you-you have seen your generation as they have grown older, because now the oldest boomers are 62 years old, hard to believe first year that some of them are getting Social Security. What do you think are the some of the greatest strengths of the boomers and what are their weaknesses? If you were to look at the generation?

2:15:02
AC: I think some of the strengths of the baby boomer generation include the courage that our generation showed to take the stand against the primitive conservative morality of our parent’s generation. You know, we respect our parents, we respect their generation, because they survived the war. They survived the Great Depression. They triumphed in World War Two, but at the same time, they clung to a conservative, religious, primitive, backward morality. And I think we resented that. So, we had to show courage and blaze our own trail, with new music, new culture, new clothing styles. And so that required a great deal of courage. And we paid a price for that, especially those of us who grew our hair longer and took a stand against the government about racism or the war in Vietnam. Very often, we suffered government or police repression. And still, we persevered. And so, I think that is another good trait of our generation, we have great perseverance in the face, in the face of great opposition from the government, from the church, and from the police, and the military. We persevered, and we stood strong against racism, against poverty, against the war in Vietnam. And I really think that the achievement of our generation stopping the war in Vietnam, I do not think I exaggerate. And I do not know how many people agree with me, but I think it was probably one of the greatest achievements in the history of the twentieth century, when you think about it, the power and the might of the greatest military operation in the world, the United States government military, that the citizens of our country brought that to a stop, we stopped the military draft, we stopped the criminal war in Vietnam. I think that is a tremendous achievement of the 1960s generation, but often overlooked in history books. But, of course, because the history books are generally written by conservative individuals trying to preserve the old order. But I think that stopping the, I think, also the civil rights movement of our generation, in particular, our African American brothers and sisters, they deserve a great deal of credit for taking a stand in the streets of the South, especially where there was such fierce and violent opposition people like Martin Luther King, people who were from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the white students who supported them and the Students for a Democratic Society. That is the group that I joined, at Kent State, I think so these organizations and these leaders and these individuals stood strong. And it made a huge difference in the history of our country. Can you hang on a second Steve? I have got a call; let me call you back after I get off.

2:17:49
SM: Do you have my phone number?

2:17:50
AC: Yes, I do.

2:17:52
SM: When we were talking last time, you were answering halfway through a question on the strengths and weaknesses of the boomer generation. You had just talked about their strengths in pretty much detail. What are some of the weaknesses within the boomer generation in your eyes?

2:18:08
AC: You mean nowadays or back then?

2:18:10
SM: Back then and if you are disappointed in, let me get into the next question after that, which is, have you been disappointed in, in the boomer generation as they approached now senior citizen status?

2:18:25
AC: Well, I think one of the weaknesses of our generation back in the day was we had youthful excesses, both politically and socially. And culturally, basically, because we were blazing a new trail of our own, without any kind of a serious precedent within memory. We made a great break from our parent’s generation, even though we were anti fascists, as they were like, for example, during World War Two, our parents’ generation took a very principled and proud stand against fascism. Unfortunately, some of us well, we had to do the same thing during the Vietnam War. And when our government was going in a criminal wrongful direction, and we had to take a stand against our own government, we thought our government was becoming fascistic. So, we took a stand against them. And I think we did that very well. We helped stop the war in Vietnam. And we helped to bring great changes socially and culturally in our country, and politically. But I think, among those weaknesses, because we were blazing a new trail, and we did not have any kind of a previous example to build upon. I think there were some excesses with drug abuse, which is regrettable. We had learned the hard way we were, one friend of mine said we were kind of like a bunch of guinea pigs back at that time. And we had to learn the hard way sometimes about that stuff. And I think there was some excesses in that regard. And also, I think, politically, for example, some of the tendencies were a bit extreme in the political movement, the anti-war movement because we were too idealistic, which is natural for younger people to be excessively idealistic, but it was, had some bad effects. For example, the Weatherman and the some of the other political tendencies were a bit extreme and out of the mainstream and did not build a mass movement, did not unite broadly with the masses of the people and I think it is regrettable. And other examples of that, but I think for the most part, our generation, I think the plus, the minus the, far outweigh the minuses. moment, hang on, I have another call.

2:21:04
SM: Okay. We finished with that particular question, or that-

2:21:09
AC: was finished with that part. But I was going to talk about the current feelings about our generation nowadays.

2:21:15
SM: Yes, definitely.

2:21:17
AC: I think that, as our generation matured, unfortunately, many of us forgot the lessons of Vietnam, and left behind our activism that we felt so passionately during the Vietnam War, once the war was over too many from our generation, regressed politically and socially, socially. And seems that too many of us just took a stand once against the war in Vietnam and did not remain politically aware and active. That is one big regret that I feel. But at the same time, even though we did elect a progressive president, like Barack Obama in 2008, I think it was very shameful that our generation chose George W. Bush, as a president to represent the baby boomer generation for the first time. That was a very regrettable choice. Too many people from our generation were deceived by the republican lies and propaganda. And they fell into a big trap by George W. Bush and our country paid a very fair price. But that was one great regret that I feel about our generation.

2:22:15
SM: How do you respond to people who say when well, the reason why the Vietnam War really ended was because mothers and fathers in the Midwest realize that their sons, sons, and few daughters are coming home from war in caskets, as opposed to and lessening the role that college students played in ending the war. And your comment on the role that college students actually played in this. You know, against the war itself. And if they played, what was the major reason why we the war ended?

2:22:52
AC: [Cough] well sure I think that college students played a huge role. But not the only role. It was true that there were businesspeople against the war, mothers against the war, grandmothers. a broad range of people oppose that war. And that really, that is a broad movement did help to end the war. But I do not think you should emphasize one segment of the antiwar movement over the other, except to say that among the students, it was our generation during the war in Vietnam that protested more vigorously than any other generation in American history, there is no doubt about it, that the-the peak the pinnacle, the high point of student activism occurred in May of 1970, for example, when the national students break occurred, after the Kent State massacre and Richard Nixon's invasion of Cambodia, almost 5 million students protested, over 800 colleges and universities shut down. And it was a tremendous tidal wave of protests that swept across the country, forcing Nixon not only to pull the troops out of Cambodia within six weeks, but also to help to bring the war in Vietnam to a more hasty conclusion. So, I think it is wrong to minimize the role of students, but it is also wrong to exaggerate that role and say that it was the only segment of the antiwar movement.

2:24:08
SM: I do not think I asked before but I, I, I talked to something like Boomer friends, even in the past year, and they still feel that the most unique generation in American history, they have not changed, even up to age 61, 62. And, of course, when I was on the college campus, I was on a different campus then you were. there was this feeling of the unity of togetherness that we are one that we can change the world. And there was a feeling that there was a uniqueness within this generation, your feelings on the attitudes that boomers had about being unique number one than and whether they were unique. Number two.

2:24:46
AC: I think that is true. For example, among the counterculture movement, the hippies, the longhairs. These were young people that were really trying to rebel against the old order, against the government against the war. Against conservative morality. And I think as a result, we were under attack by the government, and by the conservatives and older people who misunderstood there was a serious generation gap. We were under attack by the police and the government. So, it is kind of forced us to circle our wagons and feel a great sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. And I think that was one of the most beautiful aspects of our earlier time together as a generation. So, I think that that is definitely true.

2:25:31
SM: You mentioned already about that one of your disappointments in the boomer generation was their inability to carry on their idealism into as they got older. And, of course, a lot of it. You know, some people always say that that is always takes place in any generation, because of the fact that, you know, as you get older, you do not have as much energy or time. But barring that, what-what are your thoughts on the impact that boomers have had on their kids, and now grandchildren, because now 85 percent of all the college students are actually the sons and daughters of generation Xers, which are those born after (19)64. And it is the next generation sending their kids to college. But there is still about 15 percent, who are boomers who hit children late. So, there is still a lot of Boomer parents, but mostly they are heading into grandparent hood, just your thoughts on the impact they have had on them with respect to activism and sharing the experiences they went through and seeming caring, caring like they had when they were young? Just your thoughts?

2:26:38
AC: Well, I think first of all, it should be pointed out that many people from our generation continues to be progressive, not everybody abandoned their youthful idealism. For example, quite a few people from our generation became union leaders, Democratic Party officials and activists, leaders in the fields of journalism and computer science. And so, in the news media, so I think our generation continued to have a very broad impact, not everybody abandoned their political ideals. And I think in a positive sort of a way, we have changed the world. Now as for the younger generations of children and grandchildren, I think that does. For example, we are not nearly so conservative politically or morally. Religion, for example, does not dominate our culture, as it did back in the 1950s. And (19)60s, many people are rejecting the conservative force, morality, their religion tried to foist upon people wrongfully. And so, I think you can see that now, throughout our culture. For example, in Ohio, one out of every six citizens now say that they are not religious at all. And so, I think you can see that the-the legacy of the 1960s is a very profound and very positive, I think, in our society. And that has got to have had an effect, there must have been an effect on the children and the grandchildren.

2:27:57
SM: So, a lot, you know, depending on who you talk to a lot of colleges are very proud of today's college students, millennials, because they are somewhat, sometimes they compare them to the World War II generation, which was they kind of shun over the boomers and the silent generation. And that is because the current college students have already been interviewed by whatever, high school or whatever, and they want to leave a legacy. But they, the one question that comes up is that they want to leave the legacy when they are 40. Not when they are 21. They want to raise kids get a job. But they do care about other things. And of course, the boomers at that when they were young, they wanted to do it immediately. I do not know if you have any thoughts on that.

2:28:41
AC: I was like Jim Morrison used to saying we want the world we want to know that is how we felt back at that time. We were impatient because it was our generation that was under attack and Vietnam and by the military draft and by the police, and the government. But we did want to change we wanted it quickly because we were literally under attack. Now as time passed by the Vietnam War ended, and the government mellowed, and the people of America became more accepting of the counterculture and people that maybe looked or acted a little bit differently. So, I think that times have changed, and I think they have changed for the better.

2:29:16
SM: This is some question I want to read to you because it has to deal with the issue of healing. Do you feel boomers are still having problems with healing from the divisions that tore the nation apart in their youth, divisions between black and white divisions between those who support authority and those who criticized it, divisions between those who supported the troops and those who did not? We know the wall in Washington DC for the Vietnam Memorial has helped the divisions within the Vietnam veteran generation. But there is still a question about whether it has done much for the nation itself. Do you feel that the boomer generation will go to their grave like the Civil War generation not truly healing? Am I wrong in thinking After 40 years, or is the statement Time heals all wounds the truth? I say this Alan because we took students to see senator muskie before he passed away about a year and a half, when I was working at Westchester University, and we asked this very same question to him thinking that he will talk about 1968, the Democratic Convention and the tremendous divisions and he paused for about a minute. And then he responded by saying, it is we have not healed since the Civil War. And he went on to explain the divisions between North and South and the-the coming together and Gettysburg and how they never really truly healed. Do you think there is a problem with healing within the boomer generation? Or am I just imagining this?

2:30:47
AC: Well, I think it depends on how you look at it. My perspective is there has been a great deal of healing. For example, nowadays, you see very few people who are still hardcore, pro Vietnam War, who think that we could have won that war, we should have won that war, although there are a few of those people. Based on my experience, after over 10 years now of having my own internet websites, and having quite a few people contact me by email, I think I have my hand on the pulse pretty good here. Very well, here. Rather, there are still a few conservative Vietnam veterans who remain very angry. And I think those people probably never will become deals. On the other hand, I think the vast majority of Vietnam veterans, in the vast majority of people who mistakenly supported that war in Vietnam, I think very few of those people still hold to their wrong ideas. Most people now understand the war in Vietnam was a terrible, tragic error, that are 58,000 of our young people died for no good reason, and that it was avoidable, it should not have happened. So, I think there has been a great deal of healing and many people who support the war in Vietnam. In fact, I think most people who supported the war, and who supported President Nixon now see those events and those conservative people who were pro war as wrong. So, I think there has been a great deal of healing. But on the other hand, amongst some hardcore conservatives, and you do find some people in the modern Republican Party, and the conservative movement who are revisionist in their thinking, they always try to rewrite history in a wrongful way they tried to exacerbate or exaggerate the divisions and keep those divisions alive. But I think most people are doomed to failure.

2:32:27
SM: It is interesting, because Barney Frank, you know, the congressman from Massachusetts, wrote a book, maybe about in the mid (19)90s, called “speaking, frankly”. And in that book, he said, the Democratic Party was basically destroyed back in 1972. When McGovern ran for president, so many people split, and they have gone a different direction. So, when we talk about the boomer generation, and the and the issues there, we can also talk about the Democratic Party and what happened to them, because most of them-

2:32:57
AC: Well, I think that is a good example. But again, I am more optimistic. I think if you look at 1972, which was a fiasco, because George McGovern was not part of the mainstream. And his ideas were a bit to do now. And he obviously did not appeal to very many people in America, and he was suffered a serious landslide. At the same time, he was the victim of the Watergate crimes of that era. And if those crimes have been exposed more thoroughly, earlier by the news media, and the government and others, immediately, McGovern would have won. But at the same time, I would like to point out that many people from our generation did get active in the Democratic Party, even though some of us including me, were alienated from the democratic party after 1968 because of the serious tragedy that occurred at the Democratic Convention there in Chicago. But some of us eventually evolved back into the Democratic Party. And I think we have resuscitated that party to the point now that we have a- an African American president who is very openly progressive. And we are now having a great impact on the world. I think it is very clearly because the baby boomer generation took charges from the Democratic Party,

2:34:06
SM: Good points.

2:34:08
AC: I know I have in my own hometown; I am the chairman since 1992.

2:34:12
SM: That is very commendable, because you have continued to be you be an activist and also to be involved in politics and voting. And then and that is obviously a very big plus. You are an example to many young people. Two of the qualities I would like you to respond to is that the quality of movements which is part of the boomer generation, all those movements that took about kind of use the civil rights movement as a as a role model, because you have the antiwar the Native American Chicano gay and lesbian movements, the women's movement and the secondly the issue this is a very important thing is the effect of trust. The seams it is my feeling that the-the boomer generation was a very distressful generation because of the way the leaders had lied to them. Not only During the time they were of college age, but even before with President Eisenhower lying on national television to 59, about the U2 incident, which was really a big news item, no one could believe that he lied. Then, of course, we all know about the Gulf of Tonkin with LBJ Watergate with Nixon, some of the revolution revelations even about Kennedy in later years about the overthrow of regimes around the world. And then we get into Reagan and Iran Contra and all. And now even recently with George Bush and weapons of mass destruction. So, these are examples throughout the boomers live from the time they were basically in elementary school. And the reason, I am asking this question, Allen is the fact that oftentimes psychologists will say that the ability to trust is a very important quality that we must have in a person to be a success in life and to be a successful society. Your thoughts on whether the boomer generation is a very distrustful generation? And have they passed this distrust onto the children and grandchildren?

2:36:06
AC: Whether the boomer generation is a distressed generation-

2:36:10
SM: No, a lack of trust generation-

2:36:16
AC: lack of trust generation-

2:36:17
SM: Yes.

2:36:17
AC: It means that our generation does not deserve to be trusted-

2:36:19
SM: No-no-no that they are not trusting anybody else. And they think it is true.

2:36:23
AC: I think that is true. You know, we were we were raised up, for example, I was born in 1949. And I was raised up in the 1950s, which was a very idealistic time, of high employment, low poverty, there were plenty of jobs and healthcare for most people. And it was a time of rock and roll and Elvis Presley, and there was no war going on. So, it was a very idealistic, hopeful, positive time to be raised. But then in the 1960s, we saw the ugly side of American modern history, the ugliness of racism, sexism, homophobia, police brutality, war in Vietnam. And our government was turning in a criminal way toward being involved with excessive repression against minorities and others. So, we felt that we were betrayed, we have because we were raised up to have great hope in America, we felt that we found what we became of age in the 1960s, what are their hopes were betrayed? So that was why we took a stand. And I think Ever since then, you look around now you see very few people who have blind faith in their government, you know, was our generation that started that trend, I think nowadays is a very healthy thing, not only in America, but in any country, for people to look at the government skeptically and to question the government, especially their policies, because we have learned the hard way that they are mistaken policies have a drastic effect upon the common people. And whether it is the war in Vietnam, or recently, the abuses of Wall Street, which are now causing widespread suffering and unemployment and poverty, I think that our skepticism has been warranted.

2:38:06
SM: Truly interesting, if you look at some of the journals, a lot of people are fearful that Obama is going to become the next LBJ in Afghanistan, he is going to continue to bring troops in and he is never going to admit he is wrong. [right] You think there is a possibility that he could be, you know, another LBJ even though we lost love them in terms of, you know, there is-there is that possibility there.

2:38:34
AC: Yes, it is, But I think Obama is smarter than that. And I think people are going to be generally surprised when he brings peace to Afghanistan and Iraq soon and brings our economy back to life and we have national health care. I think Obama is going to be seen as a new Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

2:38:49
SM: How do you look at the music of the era because the musical obviously was very important. You hear it on the radio today, and you hear constantly on TV advertisements. I, I interviewed William Earhart a couple weeks back, you know, the great Vietnam poet, Vietnam veterans against the war leader and everything. And he took me to the back of the room. And he wanted me to read this small article. He is a teacher, at a school outside Philadelphia, and the article was a member of the birds who said, I will refer two of the members of the birds wanted to sell their music for car advertisements. He refused, he refused. And he said, even the musicians are betraying us now because of the fact that they are selling all their music to corporations. And they were the musicians that were the role models for the generation of the boomers. Just, your thoughts on the music of the (19)60s and the music of the boomers, whether it be the (19)50s, (19)60s or (19)70s and how important it was in their development as individuals and human beings. And you might want to talk about even the art that was going on in that era too.

2:40:02
AC: Well, the art, the especially the rock and roll had a tremendous impact politically and socially on our generation. In fact, I have always said that it was the rock and roll and some of those songs that inspired our political activism and even our militants, which helped to end the war in Vietnam. So, I do not think that is regrettable, and I think the fact that we mixed culture with politics is was one of the finest factors about our generation. As for some of the people selling out or selling their songs to make money, you know, some of these people have bills to pay and kids in college and health expenses. And I have never really thought it was a problem when they sold their music for TV commercials and cash down a little bit. Because I think that their intellectual property does have value and they need to have that value recognized. So, I do not really have a problem with them being compensated for their labor that way.

2:40:54
SM: When you listen to these three quotes, which do you think better defines the boomers or do you think they are they all in their own lane define them? Peter, Max used to have a poster out all the time that was on I know, it was all over Ohio State when I was there in graduate school in the early (19)70s. And the words where you do your thing, I will do mine. If by chance we should come together, it will be beautiful. The second? [I remember that] Yeah, the second quote, obviously, is Malcolm X by any means necessary. And that was out there long after he passed in 1965. And the third one we all know after Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. He had said it in Indianapolis, but he had also said in many other places, it was a Henry David Thoreau quote. And that is, some men see things as they are and ask why I see things that never were and ask why not? What I listened all three of those I, I see individuals that I knew back in the (19)60s and (19)70s, your thoughts on those three quotes, and if any one of them better defines the boomer generation?

2:42:00
AC: Well, it depends on which aspect of our generation you are talking about Malcolm X, I think spoke very eloquently for those of us who felt that we had to take a stand against our government, by any means necessary. And sometimes we were even compelled to pursue militant protest actions, because the government was not listening to peaceful protests. I think Malcolm X was the flip side of the coin. And on the other side was Dr. King who offered the peaceful solution. Our generation tried to pursue many different paths, but all trying to reach the same goal, which was peace and love. Peter, Max spoke for the-the love the hippie generation, the hippie side of our movement, the counterculture of people just trying to be groovy trying to be peaceful trying to come together. But sometimes people feel differently that gets people to get frustrated people who knew that just by waving the two fingers in the air, giving the peace sign and hoping for peace and love that that was not going to work without some kind of a militant stand, because the government itself was militant, pursuing a genocidal war in Vietnam, which killed 2 million Asian people. Those people became the victims of our military machine. Some of us could not stand idly by and just wave the peace sign, and hope and pray that the government would stop the war because that did not work. So, we had to turn to a slogan like Malcolm X's slogan, which really many of us took to our hearts. I know I did. And so, I think all of those statements spoke to the dichotomy as we saw it. We were torn, you know, we wanted peace and love. But we were again, like we said earlier, we were impatient. And so, we tried to do all those things. And even Bobby Kennedy, I s think spoke for the-the idealism of our generation, which even goes back to the earliest centuries of America. People always have high ideals and high hopes and dreams. But sometimes you have to take a stand and pay a price. Bobby Kennedy paid a price. Malcom X paid a price. And we did at Kent State but still we had those ideals. And those dreams, which were sometimes very costly, and we had to pay with the price of blood.

2:44:03
SM: Very well said, what do you think the lasting legacy of the boomers will be after the last Boomer has passed away? I remember in reading about when the last civil war veteran died, they have a statue in Gettysburg. And I thought when I first went there years ago, I said what are the statue here? This he was a last person who fought to get us. Well, they actually had a program about it around the time after he died, talking about the lack of healing, but so what are your thoughts on what do you think the legacy of the boomer generation will be as time passed-

2:44:38
AC: I think will be seen as the greatest generation in American history. I disagree with Tom Brokaw and other conservatives who try to say that the World War II generation was the greatest generation. I think, you know, it is true, they did survive the depression and they did help stop fascism and Japanese imperialism. But on the other hand, look at the look at their legacy after that. They were the generation in the greatest the war in Vietnam, they were the generation that tried to prop up racism in the 1960s. And, and other backwards traditions in America, racism, homophobia, damage to the environment and other negative aspects. So, I think that it was our generation, that made a serious break with those wrongful traditions and-and we had to take a stand against that so called Greatest Generation. And we helped stop the war in Vietnam. And we brought down Richard Nixon. And we helped to bring an end to some of these backwards tendencies in our politics in our culture. So, I think in that regard, I am very confident. And I am contented to say that ours was his greatest generation.

2:45:41
SM: Getting back to you know, President Kennedy, because we I was just listening to the inaugural speech. And of course, Today is November 22, which is 46 years ago, he passed away. And you gave very eloquent comments, the last time I spoke to you on the phone about the impact this had on you and your teacher when you were in ninth grade. But when you look at that inaugural speech, I encourage you to look at it again Allan, and some of the comments that were made, and ask not what your country can do for you, and what you can do for your country. And then all the comments about that. We will-we will go anywhere; we will help anyone. You know, there is some mixed messages even in his inaugural and now that you can reflect on it. So just your thoughts on President Kennedy and what his-his role here and obviously, the Peace Corps was very important. But you know, how did he shape the boomers just his presence?

2:46:43
AC: I think he inspired our generation, and no doubt about that. And his assassination left us with a great feeling of anguish, which caused us then to begin to awaken about the situation with our government and the situation with politics. Because many of us to snap out of the stupor, that was the inevitable result of being raised in this country and the soporific 1950s. So, he paid a very dear price. And our generation as a result, I think, began to wake up and snap out of it and pay attention. And his words, were always foremost in our minds, when he said, ask not what your country can do for you ask what you can do for your country, we started to-started to get a sense of obligation, that we had to take a stand that our generation had a role to play. And so, I think that we always revere his memory in our hearts. I know I do, especially on this day, November 22, when I always pause and remember that tragedy, which I will never forget, in 1963, when I was only 14 years old. So, we revere his memory. And I think his-his tragic death, and also the example set by his brother, Bobby Kennedy in 1968. I think that whole identity impact is a very large part of the inspiration of our movements for peace and justice. And in the 1960s-

2:48:12
SM: Yeah, 46 years ago, and this happened on a Friday, and it was around 1:30, then East Coast time that we found out about it. And of course, it was beautiful skies, just like today. The weather. That is the irony. It is not always that way. What were some of the books that that you read in some of your peers read in the late (19)60s, early (19)70s books that may have influenced you writers, whether it be fiction or nonfiction?

2:48:37
AC: Well, I think the one writer that influenced me, the most that inspired me the most was Albert Camus. In particular, his book called The Rebel, I read that book, and it really caused me to see the world differently, and to see my role in a more clear manner, I knew that I had to take a stand and I think above all the philosophers that did impact me at that time, it was Albert Camus. Also, Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche talked about the great noon and the need to destroy the old morality and the old order that had a big impact on me. And I know my roommates, some of them were reading jack Kerouac, and some of the beat poets and people like that. But also, I think the philosophers from our generation Tom Hayden had a big impact on us. So, we read the [inaudible] report, we knew about the call to action from Mr. Hayden and the SBS, student activists, leaders, and also people like Martin Luther King, we were very aware of his writings and his philosophy, but also Malcolm X on the other side of that same coin. So, I think we had a broad range of people that did impact us at the time-

2:49:49
SM: any of your friends read the greening of America by Charles Wright.

2:49:53
AC: And he wrote after it came out after the 1970 shootings right after right, we all read that of course, I think it did. have an impact that helped us summarize the positive aspects of our generation and the impact that we were having on the society.

2:50:07
SM: And another book was Theodore Roszak the making of a counterculture, which was another eye opener in the late (19)60s.

2:50:15
AC: I have that book now. But I did not read it at that time, but I read it afterwards.

2:50:19
SM: I am for the section of the interview now where I just want you to respond to various personalities of the period and or terms. And of course, you know, I asked this to everybody but and I know I have already said this, but what does Kent State and Jackson State mean to you?

2:50:39
AC: Well, I have studied the history of American student activism. So, I am aware that it was the Kent State and Jackson State tragedies, following the invasion of Cambodia that sparked the only national student strike in US history. So, on the one hand, I feel a great sense of anguish about the tragic loss of life. Alison Krauss, Jeffrey Miller, Sandy Scheuer, Bill Schroeder, also games all green and thought is killed down there at Jackson State, but I cherish those memories. But at the same time, I looked at May of 1978, in Jackson State as a reason to be proud it was the time when our generation by the millions, almost 5 million young people on our campuses across the country took a serious stand against our government, some of us paid a very big surprise with life and was blood. But I think it was a shining example of how our generation was willing to take a stand.

2:51:36
SM: Well, my famous picture that [inaudible] family took of you with the flag, which everybody in the world has seen. If you could just describe I know you have done in your books, and you have done it in your speeches, and you do a great job of that. But that that time frame, that very short timeframe, and when you walk up that hill, to Taylor Hall, and then walk past the, the metal structure on the left and down the hill, and, and then all of a sudden, the cracks of the guns. How often does that come back to you? And you know, just just-just your thoughts.

2:52:19
AC: Oh, it comes back to me all the time. I cannot avoid that issue. I have two websites where I am constantly getting email messages from students, scholars, researchers, and others from across America and around the world. I am not trying to escape my obligation to history, I have always felt that I have, I have a duty to speak for my friend Jeffrey Miller, who was shot through the head and killed that day and cannot speak for the others. They were silenced forever. And I feel that some of us have to take a stand nowadays for truth and for justice as a way to speak for them. They cannot fly out from the grave; we have to speak for them. So, I have never really tried to walk away from this issue. I have tried to embrace it and address my duty that I feel and to work with many other people to try to bring a semblance of truth and justice. I deal with this every day. But I do not let it consume my life. I am not, as some conservatives have tried to say, stuck in a time or nothing about this tragedy. I have a life way beyond May 4. I am the chairperson of the Democratic Party. I work for the government; I have a 40 hour a week job. I spent a lot of time helping democrats defeat the dastardly Republicans. So, I have a full life. I am not one dimensional by any means. But at the same time, I refuse to just walk away from my obligations that can say-

2:53:40
SM: very good, Alan. What is the wall mean to you? The Vietnam Memorial.

2:53:46
AC: I think it is the most beautiful, powerful Memorial in Washington, I have been there several times. It has a great emotional impact on anybody who has a heart. If you go there, and you walk down towards the center of that gash in the earth, and you see the 58,000 names, I think inevitably has to have a powerful effect on you. You see the reflection, you see your own face, though you realize you are still on this earth. While those 58,000 are gone. They have paid a very dear price, and that is a beautiful memorial and attribute to their memories.

2:54:19
SM: What does Watergate mean to you?

2:54:23
AC: Watergate was the exposure of the criminality of the Nixon administration and the I think it is a reminder of the general tendency of the republican party ever since. You know, it was Richard Nixon, who initiated the concept of dirty tricks in politics. I know politics has always been dirty down through the years, but it seems to be having become institutionalized in the republican party ever since.

2:54:47
SM: James Rhodes.

2:54:49
AC: James Rhodes was the criminal governor of the state of Ohio back in 1970. It was his rhetoric. The words that he used that inspired the Kent State tragedy, blood remained on his hands until he died and now, he is, as a result burning in hell forever.

2:55:04
SM: No, it is interesting Alan. Now I lived in Ohio and Gilligan was governor and I am shocked that state voted him back in.

2:55:13
SM: Rhodes was the master of manipulating the people of Ohio. He had his hand on the pulse very well, I will say this. He was a master politician. But at the same time, he was only a high school graduate, he did not really have done college. He was basically a country bumpkin who had the great gift of speaking and talking to common folks’ language. I do not think he would ever have a chance of getting elected now in the modern age. But back at that time, he was a really a reflection of it backwards. Thinking of too many Ohioans

2:55:45
SM: How about the counterculture, hippies and hippies.

2:55:50
AC: I have mixed memories about the counterculture, the hippies and the hippies. I think that there were excesses. And there were there was too much idealism, and too much wasted energy. I wish that we had been more enlightened, and more focused and more effective

2:56:06
SM: Students for democratic society and the weathermen.

2:56:10
AC: I think the students for a democratic society is one of the greatest organizations that ever existed in America. It was a broad ranging group, which encompassed everyone among the student generation, which included pacifist, anarchists and everybody in between. They pursued a wide range of tactics from peaceful tactics to militant, I think basically, they responded to the tragedy of Vietnam. They also opposed racism and, and damage to the environment, and the oppression of women and other minorities. So, I think I am very proud that I was a member of SDS. And I think I SDS remains a very misunderstood organization.

2:56:49
SM: How about the Vietnam Veterans against the war? And then the Americans for freedom, which was the conservative group against the war?

2:56:57
AC: What is the second group? You mentioned?

2:56:58
SM: The Americans for freedom?

2:57:00
AC: You mean the young Americans for freedom?

2:57:03
SM: Yeah, young Americans for freedom? Yeah, yeah.

2:57:05
AC: The Young Americans for freedom was a basically an outgrowth of William F. Buckley in the conservative movement in the 1960s. And they were very backwards and primitive in their ideology trying to defend the old order. And I think they were widely discredited. And that is why they do not really exist anymore. On the other hand, what was the other group you mentioned? I am sorry, I got distracted YAF-

2:57:28
SM: The Vietnam veterans against Vietnam veterans against the war.

2:57:30
AC: Yeah. That was a very principled and proud organization, which still exists. Those were veterans of the War [audio cuts]-

2:57:42
SM: Testing one two [audio cuts]

2:57:50
AC: Ring home that inspired the students and the others in America to take a stand against the war. Those veterans saw the war, they knew how long and how horrible and awful the world was in Vietnam. And they compelled us to take action. And they joined us in the frontlines of the movement. So, I have nothing but the greatest respect and admiration. Still, for the Vietnam Veterans against the War-



2:58:13
SM: I think I lost the first two lines because they had to change my tape. But I think, I do not know if you remember what you said. Anyway, yeah, you got it. Okay. I am going to get into some personalities here. And you know, Jane Fonda-

2:58:29
AC: Jane Fonda is a misunderstood individual. I think she had good intentions, but she did some things that she regretted. She went to Vietnam and posed on that anti-aircraft battery. And she was, I think, typical of many people from our generation two excessively idealistic, because she did make some mistakes. But basically, I think her heart was in the right place. And I wish them more Hollywood stars and other famous people have taken a stand like hers.

2:58:57
SM: Well, if you go to the Vietnam Memorial, she is the one person that seems, and no one ever forgives most of Vietnam-

2:59:04
AC: I was there-there and I saw that they had a bunch of those stickers there. Those bumper stickers, Hanoi, Jane and all that. And I had a big discussion with some of those Vietnam veterans, about her and about Vietnam. And when I was discussing Vietnam and Jane Fonda with a bunch of those pro-war, Vietnam veterans, those conservative Vietnam veterans there in Washington, crowd gathered about 100 people gathered around as we had about a 60 minute discussion, really, and by the end of it, I had those conservative Vietnam veterans shaking my hand because I explained to them about Kent State and why some of us had to take a stand and ended up shaking my hand. I think maybe they might have seen Jane Fonda in a different light after that day.

2:59:45
SM: [Agreement] How about Tom Hayden?

2:59:48
AC: Tom Hayden was one of the greatest heroes of the 1960s he wrote for here on stage and he helped to found SBS. And he helped them lead the movement against the war in Vietnam but also against racism against blacks. Ain New York and elsewhere, and I think Tom Hayden is one of the great, great heroes of the 1960s-

3:00:08
SM: had a brand-new book out again too Amie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin.

3:00:15
AC: I think there was a Crown Princes of the 1960s antiwar movements. They were basically I think, anarchistic comedians, I do not think that they were so effective politically as they could have been if they, if they have been less idealistic, and more realistic. I think the Yippies were correct in their enthusiasm against the war, but wrong in many of the tactics that they use, which were counterproductive.

3:00:43
SM: Timothy Leary.

3:00:46
AC: Another example of the idealism of the 1960s I think his heart was in the right place. But encouraging people to experiment with LSD i think is regrettable. I think that he did inspire our generation, though, to question the government and to question our reality as it existed, but encouraging the use of LSD I think is wrong

3:01:09
SM: the Black Panthers and I say, again, I mentioned about six people here, which is Eldridge Cleaver, cannot link cleaver, Bobby Seale, Huey Newton, Angela Davis, that group.

3:01:22
AC: I think they are very inspirational for the African American population in our country. They started things like the free breakfast program, which is now instituted by our government across the country. They encouraged African Americans to take a stand of defending their neighborhoods, I think that was a good thing because the neighborhoods were under attack. If the Black Panthers were not effective, they would not have been subjected to the cruel repression, the deadly repression by the government. The government saw them as a legitimate threat. And they were, they were revolutionary. They wanted to change America drastically. And they succeeded. Rather than have the data very depressed, including all the people that you mentioned, they all spent time in jail. Some of those people then went bad let people like Eldridge Cleaver ended up becoming a conservative pro government person. I think that was regrettable. But-but the rest of the activists have all remained very principled and proud and stayed active in the movement.

3:02:17
SM: About Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern.

3:02:21
AC: I supported McCarthy for a while 1968. But I think then later, he played a bad role when he continued to oppose Bobby Kennedy, he should have stood aside gracefully and allowed Bobby Kennedy to easily have access to the Democratic nomination. So, I think that was wrong of McCarthy. He stayed in the race too long then. And afterwards, he just seemed to be a frustrated man. But I think Eugene McCarthy should be recognized for his great courage and taking a stand against Lyndon Johnson during the Vietnam War. During that time period-

3:02:53
SM: And George McGovern-

3:02:55
AC: George McGovern, I have mixed feelings about George McGovern, on the one hand, he was victimized by the crimes of the Nixon administration in the Watergate scandal, think he could have been a good president. But afterwards, I think McGovern to me, I do not think has played such a good wall through the years. I know at Kent state he came and spoke in 1990. While we had 40,000 people protesting in the rain, nothing against the reduced Memorial at Kent State which was reduced by 93 percent. It was a national controversy. And McGovern came in and just acted like it was business as usual. And he regretted the protesters. I do not have very good feelings about George McGovern right now.

3:03:33
SM: The nonviolent protest movement and I give you two examples. The scene of Stokely Carmichael standing next to Martin Luther King, basically telling them Your time has passed. That is a historic picture and Martin Luther King has his arms folded, you can sign attention and the other one was the debate that Malcolm X had been about three months before he was assassinated with Byard Rustin, who was of you know, worked with Martin Luther King basically telling him that Your time has passed, challenging me, you know, the civil rights leaders of the era, which were Whitney Young, James farmer, Ray Wilkins, Byard, Rustin and Martin Luther King, you know, your time has passed your thoughts on Moses.

3:04:16
AC: I think people like Stokely Carmichael, and Malcolm X had a tremendous impact on the nonviolent civil rights movement. For example, I think it was the pressure from people like Stokely Carmichael and Malcolm X that caused Martin Luther King eventually to take a real strong stand against the war in Vietnam. Personally, I think that was why Martin Luther King was assassinated, because he was becoming very powerful and it was broadening out his impact beyond the civil rights movement, and the government had to kill them.

3:04:45
SM: Yeah, Yeah, Martin Luther King and Malcolm were my next to people here. You are just your-your thoughts on them.

3:04:53
AC: Martin Luther King and Malcom X? [yeah]. I think there was a great American patriot way. They loved America enough to take a stand to try to change it. they pursue different tactics and different strategies. But I think together they made a powerful team and had a tremendous lasting impact. And that is why they were killed. Sometimes in America, if you take too strong of a stand if you become too much of a threat to the government, they feel they have to kill you. And I really do believe that government killed both of those individuals.

3:05:23
SM: Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew.

3:05:26
AC: That is quite a dynamic duo. Both criminals. Both admittedly, criminals. One of them went to jail. The other did not. I think it was unfortunate that Nixon escaped prison time. If President Nixon was jailed for his crimes in office, I think then we might have not had Ronald Reagan committing his crimes with the Iran Contra scandal, Reagan should have been jailed. George Herbert Walker Bush his illegal actions. And also, George W. Bush. These were all criminal republican presidents that all escaped prosecution, and they all should have been sent to prison, in my opinion, and I do not say that lightly. I know that is a serious charge. But at the same time, unless we have these people paying a price like Nixon should have better price than other presidents will be a bit Cavalier with their own criminal activities, thinking they also will escape punishment. For example, in recent years, George W. Bush is clearly an international war criminal. He has killed hundreds of 1000s of people with his wrongful policies in Iraq, Alone women and children, old people, and others. And he has escaped prosecution as well. This is wrong this has to stop.

3:06:41
SM: This gets right in then to Gerald Ford comments on Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

3:06:52
AC: Gerald Ford, had to pick up the pieces from the damage of the Nixon administration, I think Gerald Ford was put into a tough situation. Although he was not exactly the brightest intellect in the history of our presidents, he surely was not very bright. But then unfortunately, Jimmy Carter followed and was relatively ineffectual he had economic problems he had to scandal, the hostages in Iran and followed by Ronald Reagan. So that was a really difficult period of our country where we went from bad to worse went from Nixon to Reagan. And I think our country suffered as a result.

3:07:32
SM: One thing, your thoughts that Ronald Reagan used to always say, well, we are back it was really a slap at the (19)60s in the (19)70s. Because he could, we are bringing him we are bringing America back, we are bringing, we are going to the military is going to be stronger, and that that may have been okay, because even the people in the military realize there was something wrong. And then when George, George Bush Senior came in, he said, The Vietnam syndrome is over. So, both Reagan and Bush Senior, you know, had very strong comments, really on an era.

3:08:06
AC: Well, that is traditional for conservatives to try to rewrite history. For example, it was Richard Nixon, who first talked about the ending the Vietnam syndrome, Ronald Reagan declared it to be dead. But still, if you look at Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, this is a time period during the late (19)70s, early (19)80s, where there was serious talk of bringing back the draft. Well, they could not do that, because the American people would not stand for that. So that is the positive legacy of our generation. We stopped the military draft, and it has not been resumed ever since. So, they cannot destroy the Vietnam syndrome. The fact that there is no draft proves that the Vietnam syndrome is alive and well. Also, we have not had another war like Vietnam ever since Vietnam. During Vietnam, we would lose 6000 gives me, sorry 4000 of our soldiers in a six-month period, we would lose over 400 soldiers in a week, sometimes, we have not had a war like that ever since Vietnam because the American people remember Vietnam, Vietnam syndrome is still alive. We remember the legacy of the war in Vietnam and our antiwar movement. So, we do not have a draft and we do not have another war like Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan are nothing compared to Vietnam. We started to see the level of casualties as we saw during Vietnam. Again, we would have another antiwar movement just as strong. So, when Nixon, Reagan and George HW Bush or George bush tried to announce that they are back and the conservatism is a reigning Supreme, while there is only so much that they can do because the legacy of Vietnam remains alive and well-

3:09:36
SM: Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey.

3:09:41
AC: I think they were both decent men, a good Liberal Democrats who tried to do the right thing in certain regards with social policies, but their tremendous failing their Achilles heel was Vietnam. Lyndon Johnson suffered to the point where he had to withdraw from the 1968 presidential race and the remains a very haunted man until his death, haunted by Vietnam and Hubert Humphrey similarly suffered because he was so closely linked to LBJ, even though they did try to bring some racial harmony in our country and provide a transition as President Kennedy promised to do. I think they tried to be good liberals that way. But Vietnam proved to be their albatross-

3:10:24
SM: Barry Goldwater and Robert McNamara.

3:10:30
AC: Well, there is two different guys there. Barry Goldwater, of course is the father of the modern conservative movement. And he but even Barry Goldwater moderated in his later years, and he was not as frightened as some of these very errant conservatives that we have now. Like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the Fox TV network. So, I think Barry Goldwater was a very principled individual, and he was proud to be a conservative, and I think he was an honest man. Later on, he saw the dangers of modern conservatism, and he condemned that he made a break from that. So, who was the second person you said against-

3:11:09
SM: McNamara, Robert, who just died-

3:11:12
AC: Another tortured individual who was haunted by Vietnam to his grave. And McNamara to his credit, did tried to distance himself from the war in Vietnam and from those policies, and he admitted that they were wrong. I think that was had a tremendous impact on the healing that our nation needs.

3:11:30
SM: Daniel and Philip Berrigan.

3:11:33
AC: Great heroes of the movement, religious men who proved that they tried to be like Jesus and trying to bring peace and understanding and healing to the world. And they paid a price for that, just like Jesus said-


3:11:49
SM: George Wallace.

3:11:50
AC: George Wallace was a strident conservative, a racist, openly, 1968 he helped to draw attention to the conservative right wing racist movement. But he failed and inevitably proved to be a failure in-

3:12:08
SM: The Free Speech Movement at Berkeley in (19)64, (19)65.

3:12:12
AC: Mario Savio and those guys out there in Berkeley were great heroes. They inspire the 1960s student movement greatly. They had a great impact on future generations of students, I think, even to the present day today, defending the First Amendment and helping to spark the antiwar movement later. The students of Berkeley were great heroes even though they paid a dear price.

3:12:33
SM: The beats like Galen Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, Ken Kenzie, Ed Sanders are happening in that group.

3:12:43
AC: The beats inspire the Ken Ekezie 60s movement. Of course, they blaze their own trail, they were younger, before we were, and so they took a stand against conservatism and apathy. And they helped to awaken the 60s generation. Those guys were very cool

3:12:58
SM: And then in the women's movement, which is Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, Shirley Chisholm, Betty, for Dan, the list goes on and on. Some of the female leaders-

3:13:11
AC: Very courageous women are sisters, and they help to blaze a trail, which provides many benefits now for women all across America. The women's movement remains alive and well, of course, and that is how it should be. I am a great supporter of women's rights and freedoms. I was always inspired by those women, although I will admit and my own opinion, and not just in the women's movement, but I think in various movements from our generation, there were excesses and they were, there was extreme idealism and political correctness. And I think sometimes that is regrettable.

3:13:45
SM: Dr. Benjamin Spock.

3:13:48
AC: Dr. Benjamin Spock, a great hero, took a stand against the war in Vietnam, even though he could have just continued to be popular, maybe book doctor and lived a nice, comfortable life. He paid a price for his activism, and he was correct to take such a principled stand against the war in Vietnam.
3:14:08
SM: John Dean.

3:14:09
AC: John Dean’s another courageous man who stand to bring truth and feeling to our country at the time of Watergate.

3:14:24
SM: TET [referring to Tet Offensive].

3:14:25
AC: TET, 1968 especially as remembered, although it is an annual holiday in Vietnam, 1968 was the period where the Vietnamese Vietcong basically took a stand all across South Vietnam and helped to awaken the American people that we were not winning the war that the light was not at the end of the tunnel that there was no real end in sight, and that it really did help to inspire the antiwar movement here as well-

3:14:50
SM: How about the ERA that did not quite succeed, but women were trying in the (19)70s. Their early (19)70s.

3:14:56
AC: Regrettable, that it did not become a constitutional amendment. I supported the era Just as I always support women's rights and freedom. I think However, even though that amendment was not passed, still the-the impact of that attempt, and the women's movement is still very strong today and women are enjoying great rights and freedoms. Of Course, they always have to be defended, because those are always under attack by the conservative movement.

3:15:21
SM: The individual or groups that you felt were the greatest musicians that had the greatest impact on the boomer generation-

3:15:27
AC: I think that clearly it was the Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead. John Fogarty and cleared Creedence Clearwater Revival bands like that. I think they had a tremendous impact on our generation. They helped me to stop the war in Vietnam-

3:15:44
SM: April 30, 1970, the Nixon speech about the invasion of Cambodia.

3:15:54
AC: Very provocative and controversial, basically an invasion of Cambodia. Although Nixon denied it was an invasion. That was the event that triggered the four days of protests at Kent State which culminated in the massacre. But it provoked a revolt all across our country. Richard Nixon grossly miscalculated the impact. He-he knew there would be an impact he knew there would be a price to pay. But he totally miscalculated and misunderstood the fact that he would trigger the only national student strike and US history.

3:16:27
SM: Down to pretty much toward the end here. Allan what do you feel are the best books on can stay. I know that we have talked about this before that some you really do not like, I know that Michener wrote a book right away. That was well known. I.F stone had a paperback that came out. There is the one I just mentioned that I just found out about. There is the breath. And Peter Davies wrote one on Kent state, but in your opinion, and in the opinion of your peers, you know, the students that were there, what are the ones that they feel is the best book on Kent state.

3:17:02
AC: Peter Davies wrote a very good book in the early 1970s. I think it is failing- is that it was early and there has been a lot of evidence has come out ever since. But Peter Davies very courageously attacked the cover up of murder at Kent State, he joined with Reverend John Adams of the United Methodist Church. And he put out that book the truth about Kansas State, which was very helpful and pressuring the government to create a federal grand jury, for example, which did occur in 1974. Another good book was Joe Keller, our attorney, he wrote a book called the Kent State cover up, which was published around 1989 or (19)90 or so. And it was a very good book, dealing with the file and the evidence that occurred from the court case. So that was an excellent book did deal with a lot more of the evidence that Peter Davies did not have access to a lot of the testimony that came out on the court and the investigations. But even these books did not focus on the order to fire enough, which I focused on in my own research. And which causes me to think that the books that I am going to be coming out with will be the best books about Kent State that have ever been written. My roommate from 1970, Tom grace, was a PhD in history also is coming out with a new book about the history of the Kent State student movements in the 1950s through the 70s. [Excellent] He is going to focus a lot on 1970 something his book will be very credible. Also. I.F stones book was very good. It was basically his rant against the cover up of murder, very good. And there has been a few good books, some mediocre books and some terrible books.

3:18:41
SM: Where do you put Michener’s book?

3:18:43
AC: Michener’s book I would say is either mediocre or poor. He has been exposed as fabricating many of his quotes or misquoting many of his sources. His book was very early. In fact, it was the earliest book of all, so it suffers from that flaw. There has been a great deal of evidence that is come out ever since, but Michener did a good job of talking about the four victims or martyrs, talking about the kinds of people that they were and about their last days. They did a good job that way. But when it came down to his final conclusion that there was no order to fire and that was just an inevitable tragedy, and he did not focus enough on the National Guard and their criminal shooting of the students. I do not put the blame myself on the triggerman so much now as they do on the officers and Michener, basically let the officers off the hook-

3:19:30
SM: Your thoughts on john filo? Oh, that courageous student photographer I interviewed him for the book and being called into that. And he his story is unbelievable. And Marian [inaudible] the 14-year-old who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Your thoughts on both of them not only about the experiences that they both gone through, but you have known them your whole life. Just your thoughts on them.

3:19:57
AC: Well, I love both of them dearly. John, Marian My dear friends, hang on a moment, I have another call.

3:20:05
SM: Okay. What was the question about john Filo and Marian Becky?

3:20:13
AC: So, I think they both played a great role in history. That photograph is one of the most famous photographs ever. And on the one hand, it has helped John Filo’s career but on the other hand, it has a Mary Vecchio and unforgettable icon, and she has had to pay a price for that. With social ostracism, sometimes and unwarranted criticism. She has healed very nicely from that, and they have become good friends. And they both come back to Kent State on a regular basis to help raise awareness about the 1970 tragedy. So, I admire their courage and not only refusing to turn their back on the situation, but also trying to help other people understand.

3:20:58
SM: I know I have been trying to interview Marian Becky, and she hasn't responded to me, but I hope I eventually will be able to get her interview a phone number. Yeah. Oh, no, I do not have her phone number. But I have emailed her so many times. And so, I do not have a phone number though.

3:21:19
AC: I will email you her phone number, if you remind me-

3:21:20
SM: Okay, great. And one final thing, and I know you are going, is there a question that I did not ask that you thought I would have asked in this email?

3:21:28
AC: Or you were very thorough, Steve, I have no. I cannot think of another question.

3:21:34
SM: Okay. Could you email me also, Dean Taylor's email address and Joe Lewis, I would like to interview them?

3:21:43
AC: Email me to remind me, Stephen. I will do that-

3:21:46
SM: Have a great day Allan and continue doing what you always do. Yep. Take care. Bye now.

(End of Interview)

Date of Interview

2009-11-22

Interviewer

Stephen McKeirnan

Interviewee

Canfora, Alan
Canfora, Roseann Chic

Biographical Text

Dr. Roseann "Chic" Canfora is an educator. She received her Master's degree in Journalism and Public Relations at Kent State University, where she also earned a Ph.D. in Educational Administration. Currently, she is a Chief Communications Officer at Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Dr. Canfora is the sister of Alan Canfora and an eyewitness to the Kent State massacre on May 4, 1970.

Alan Canfora (1949-2020) was a survivor of the Kent State massacre who was shot in the wrist by the Ohio National Guard on May 4, 1970. Canfora was an activist, student organizer and political activist who earned a Bachelor's degree in General Studies and a Master's degree in Library Science. He was the Library Director at Akron Law Library in Akron, Ohio.

Duration

03:21:57

Language

English

Digital Publisher

Binghamton University Libraries

Digital Format

audio/mp4

Material Type

Sound

Interview Format

Audio

Subject LCSH

Educators;
Kent State Shootings, Kent, Ohio, 1970;
Canfora, Roseann Chic--Interviews;
Political activists--United States;
Library directors;
University of Akron. School of Law. Library;
Canfora, Alan

Rights Statement

This audio file and digital image may only be used for educational purposes. Please cite as: McKiernan Interviews, Special Collections, Binghamton University Libraries, Binghamton University, State University of New York. For usage beyond fair use please contact the Binghamton University Libraries Special Collections for more information.

Keywords

Vietnam War; Feminism; Civil rights movement; Assassination of John F. Kennedy; Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy; Cuban missile crisis; Kent State; Black Panthers; Pacifism; Timothy Leary; Drug culture; Exclusion of women; Joan Baez; Cesar Chavez; March on Washington; Harvey Milk; Vietnam Veterans Memorial; Baby boom generation ; Students for a Democratic Society; Political activism; Protests; College students; Counterculture; Black Panthers; Richard Nixon; Ronald Reagan; Lyndon Johnson

Files

canfora-alan-chic.jpg

Citation

“Alan Canfora and Dr. Roseann Chic Canfora,” Digital Collections, accessed December 9, 2022, https://omeka.binghamton.edu/omeka/items/show/894.