On a breezy fall day in 1969, White Rock Lake held what some think was the first big protest rally of the Vietnam War era in Dallas.
Dallas Peace Day was part of a nationwide day of protest called Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam on Oct. 15, 1969. It was hyped in the daily newspapers and drew 600 to 1,500 people, based on varying estimates. One next-day headline read, “1,500 Stay Orderly Here,” according to the Dallas Morning News.
Now we have footage of that protest, which includes an interview with Sterling Morrison of the Velvet Underground, who performed at the anti-war protest at Winfrey Point.
Moving-image curator Jeremy Spracklen of Southern Methodist University’s G. William Jones Film & Video Collection uncovered a professional-level film reel from the day, although it’s unclear who shot and edited the 12 minutes and 17 seconds of footage.
How good is Moe Tucker on the drums in her New York Jets sweatshirt?
Watch the video and see that the day was chill and subdued. A cool and sunny day in the park for people who wanted the war to end. It culminated in a candlelight vigil.
Stoney Burns, who started the city’s first underground newspaper, asked Morrison how this rally compared to the ones in New York City.
“In New York, there’s a tone of anarchy that’s kind of missing here,” Morrison says. “You know, it doesn’t exactly belong here.”
He also mentions that in coastal cities, the various anti-war groups competed and fought for attention. Left-wing problems, man.
The protest led to a First Amendment fight when Dallas ISD prohibited students from wearing black armbands bearing peace symbols that were handed out at the rally. A federal appeals court eventually sided with the students, the newspaper reports.
This Super 8 footage of the Velvet Underground’s performance, with no sound, previously was the only known digitized film of the day.
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