It Was Fifty Years Ago Today Series: Mallory’s Journal Entries for February
Saw the most incredible film—“Bonnie and Clyde.” I’ve been trying to figure out why it had such an impact on me. Films have done that now and then—provoked thought, held up new ideas to consider. But this seems “personal” somehow. It made me think about “flesh” in a new way, about vulnerability, the way it shatters so quickly, the way time runs out in the midst of a good thing. Curious that a Hollywood flick could have such impact. Maybe it’s because the story was an American epic, an “everyman” tale. I need to figure this out.
If I had been losing interest in my history studies, I have been re-invigorated by the “B&C” experience. I am enthralled with researching this territory.
Christopher’s third birthday
Maybe I’m more of an historian than I thought. The idea of “crime history” intrigues me. I’ve even been exploring the area for years without thinking about it—“The Red and the Black,” “Crime and Punishment,” “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” “Dracula,” “Great Expectations,” “East of Eden.” I grew up on this stuff! And remember “Rebel Without a Cause?” That had a big impact too as I recall. Anyway, I’ve decided to do a paper on “B&C” for my American West history class next quarter. I’m thinking of calling it “The Outlaw Hero.”
[Note: “The Outlaw Hero” was subsequently published in the Journal of Popular Culture in 1970—my first publication!]
Have decided to go for an M.F.A. in Art History next year. It’s a new program that will let me combine art history with studio work. It’s either that or a PhD in Creative Arts which sounds just too spread out for me. Of course, I could then add music to the mix. We’ll see. Fourteen weeks and I’m finished with my M.A. Hurrah!
And out there in the larger world…
Eddie Adams, whose photo of the execution won a Pulitzer Prize for The Associated Press, said the man Loan shot had been seen killing others and that the execution was justified. But the photo becomes yet another rallying point for anti-war protestors.
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers a sermon at his Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta which will come to be seen as prophetic. His speech contains what amounts to his own eulogy.
The US State Department announces the highest US casualty toll of the Vietnam War. The previous week saw 543 Americans killed in action, and 2547 wounded.
Walter Cronkite reports on his recent trip to Vietnam to view the aftermath of the Tet Offensive in his television special Who, What, When, Where, Why? The report is highly critical of US officials. Cronkite advises negotiation “…not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.”
Also in February 1968
The Delano Grape Strike grew from a long history of labor organizing and protest by Filipino workers in agriculture and canning on the West Coast. AWOC leaders asked the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), a mostly Latino farm workers union led by Cesar Chavez, to join their strike. The Delano Grape Strike was the first major collaboration between Filipino and Mexican workers. The protest that began in the fields in Delano grew into a broader boycott that asked for help from consumers in urban areas.
In February 1968, as some supporters called for less peaceful approaches to civic action, Chavez decided to embark on a “fast for nonviolence and a call to sacrifice,” an act of penance that would demonstrate the discipline necessary to wage a nonviolent civic struggle. It resonated with deeply religious workers, who flocked to Delano in support of Chavez. After 25 days, he broke his fast in a gathering that included Senator Robert Kennedy.