thumbnail of Berkeley People's Park War
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
The program formally scheduled for this time will not be shown so that we may bring you the following special program the following program is made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. I am this was the scene in Berkeley California on Memorial Day. More than 30000. Persons took part in a peaceful festive march to demonstrate loyalty to a small piece of land called the People's Park. Most of the marches were young but many people over 30 took a two mile track in the hot California sun. They had come for a peaceful protest and no violent incident spoiled their parade. Thousands of green balloons established the motif of the day but the olive drab uniforms of the National Guardsmen encamped in a one time Park. The barbed wire barricades in the streets the ever present helicopters circling above
and the watchful police on the rooftops were a constant reminder of the bitter battle waged over this land battles between police and Bradley's large Longhair population of students radicals and footloose. No one here is street people are not new. This was the fourth major disturbance in a year. But this one was different. Both the police and the demonstrators called it a war and a final peace has not yet. Whatever the disturbing questions raised by the recent events here the people's party war and challenge for the private property expose the inability of the university effectively with the needs of every and
every wonder what is coming. The central dispute is over the control of the University of California for 1.3 million dollars a year. Another lot recently hundreds of students and street people began appearing with confrontation University and city officials to action and threats against the university in the underground. I began to suspect the power was really a plot. Plot are not the park's owner quickly announced it would prefer a soccer field here. Berkeley Chancellor Roger Hein tells why the university bought the lot in the first place. The University of California worked out with the
city of Berkeley a land acquisition plan and you know this was decided in 1957. The particular land it's now highly controversial was a part of that long range development plan. Most of the plane was implemented by the regions they purchased the land they said they were going to purchase. When I arrived in 1965 there were however some notable exceptions to that including this particular land. It was a slum area developing in that area it was a high delinquency rate in the south campus area around the campus in general. I was very apprehensive about the development of the kind of depressed area that surrounds other universities in the country. We're been rumored around nobody is trying to get. No that was not the case. I believe that the
university had contributed to the duration in that neighborhood by the failure to execute its long development plan as a result of the fact that they were not proceeding. There were there were rattling houses and other kinds of things in that area that were not kept up for understandable reasons because they had this university and it was clear cut evidence presented by the chief of police and our own experience indicating a crime rate in that area and we were contributing to a problem. We went to the regents in 67. And we explain the effect of the Universe forward to learn acquisition plan and delinquency rate and use that as justification for the purchasable life. Well the long run purpose of the land is residential immediately because we can't get the residential for playing
the university is operating very much like an urban renewal agency would try to try to operate about 10 or 12 years ago and renewal agencies can't work that way anymore they can't simply do wholesale clearance and move people somewhere else University somehow thinks that it can still operate that way that way and not be answerable to the community at large. So on that side I think that people have in South Campus. I have good reason to be mistrustful University the university was content to let this lie this land live vacant for over a year to let people who had no rights to it use it as a pardon. But when people who wanted to make something better out of it decided they would because there were no plans for the land there was no money available. And because most people of university
agree that no athletic field especially on the south side where there are plenty are needed right now. When these people moved in and decided they could use the land. Well the university and the university was unresponsive. People want to negotiate in good faith and response of pleas from the community and also students recognize that there are potential problems in that area and we began to find out what was behind this and to talk with people who were involved in an issue did meetings with the Telegraph Avenue concerns and told them that this was a university property. Incidentally nobody asked the consultant about this song nobody asked her whether this was permissible or whether we were willing to go along with this experiment with no effort on part of the fundamental process of work and the situation is that there is a tremendous mix of groups variety of groups in the south
campus area. Several thousand people or more are comprised of flower children drug culture people present day counterparts of Bohemians of an earlier day. The cops who prey on the drug culture the hoods the drug pushers. You've got the ideologically motivated groups anarchists radical Marxists of all characters. Not many Stalin s lot of Aristide's the least. You name it Bill and virtually every radical ideologically motivated person or group is centered and has some substance some support in that south campus area in addition to
that kind of mix. You have the essentially that this and existentialist affinity groups who have a lifestyle of their own. There is one common thread that runs among all the groups really that I can find and that is either a total or a selective disregard for law. We ask through every channel possible were shunted about the same way that we are shunted about on the avenue the same way we had we were harassed. Desire to set up the park was simply a desire to have that park to have something for ourselves. There was no planning involved there was no desire to make this a political issue. It was really the thing itself wasn't any means to any end. The biggest desire of the park was to be a learning experience along with the constructive aspect it was to teach a sense of community to people who feel disenfranchised to people who are each year driven out so that the university can have a buffer zone so they
can expand so they can make this community homogeneous grouping of students disregarding everybody else who lives here. A lot of people graduate and they cease to be students but this is their home. This is their community. We feel a very strong sense of community. We're looking for a way to live in it without persecution and extinction. It did a vacant lot with a mudhole with the studios with some with a lot of rocks with some metal was dangerous place. It was formally a parking lot so to say there was no money taken. People just saw this and they came out to park their cars. The people of that area people in Berkeley in that area ask people not to park on the land and build a park there. It was a beautiful park. They built a barbecue pit they put they bought. They raised money on their own and bought side but side down. They built a childrens various sleights ways. Merry Go Round situation.
I've used to bring my son every morning I have a 17 month old son I bring my son every morning to see the plants lives there. There are always a few other people around and everyone would take care of him and we would talk about about the park and our plans for the park. It was a beautiful expression of community of initiative of what people can create if they take initiative on their own. And it's being taken away from us by a few men not by the university by a few men who are afraid of that kind of illusion. Afraid that people are going to take begin to make decisions for themselves and express freedom and build themselves and create for themselves. So that's basically all I want to say but the first thing I want to hear from Chancellor Hines the very first thing is why he got that part at work. He put up that fence or it happens to be put up at 4 o'clock in the morning and then left town leaving all the decisions in the hands of Sheriff Madigan. Shot down people in the streets.
I didn't notice that offense was going to go up and this was only after it was clear that all the efforts that I was making to get some group with which to deal were not succeeding. Now I'd like to make very clear to everyone in this room and the audience that it was not possible for me to turn over university property to the people to do with what they wanted given the ownership and the planning that had gone into it prior to that time. I was willing to talk about new users through ways of responding to community needs and so on but it was not possible for me to turn over university property to anonymous people to do with what they want. There was no reason to think that. There would be a consistent and deliberate effort to fan this thing even more.
We knew there'd be kind of frustration about it. We have had other threats of confrontation which have been a. effectively. And therefore because there were responsible people present in whose area decisions about this would have to be made. Now after that when it becomes a matter of tactical decision I do not participate in those decisions anyway. Those are decisions made by law enforcement personnel. I do not have final responsibility for them can't brief negotiations and warnings and fail to stop the bugging our fence crews arrived before dawn on May 15. Massive police forces repossessed a lot without a struggle and part supporters rallied on campus to protest during a speech by U.S. student body president elect Sago. The emotional crowd began to march. People
who are police people disagree. By the end of the day. Tear gas almost a common thing and Berkeley was used in abundance. But for the first time sheriff's officers fired shotguns into the crowd injuring more than 60 persons. The ammunition was supposed to be birdshot lethal enough to permanently blind who was hit in the face. Another suspect James 25 was shot in the stomach and hard with buckshot. Later Sheriff Frank explanation deadly force is being used against us. We have the right to retaliate if you want to.
Well it is my feeling based on the. Officers. There's. Marches and rallies continue despite the governor's propagation of a ban on public assembly and a strict curfew. More than 2000 National Guardsmen took up positions in the city and are frequently downtown businesses were forced to close as demonstrated streets are forced to cordon the presence was both cheered but the violence gradually subside. One reason was the
absence of animosity between part time soldiers and young demonstrators. Any policeman is a provocation. As young as the control they were obviously uncomfortable in their role as none the less tension. Monday demonstrators rallied on campus to mourn his passing. The guy made its first massive invasion of the camp. There were constant marches vigils skirmishes with police the Berkeley School Board was told children in classrooms had been inadvertently teargassed by over zealous police adhoc and established community groups issued hundreds of statements thanking positions for and against a park protest. On campus the student body States the largest election in history and voted overwhelmingly. To urge the ministration to remove the fence and release the land to the park people. The prolonged crises strained existing arrangements for emergency police work. Even
the public can feel good about who was running the city. U.S. Senator and Alan Cranston announced he was unable to find out where decisions were being made or by whom. These questions became especially pertinent when tactics escalated the guard introduced a new weapon fresh from a new civil disorder. Mass of tear gas sprayed from a hell of a gas. Hospital patients and children playing many miles from campus totally unprepared. Grim pictures like this. Write this down. The continuing military presence reports of indiscriminate gassing and clubbing shocked the city. A delegation of alarmed professors went to Sacramento to plead for de-escalation with Governor Ronald Reagan. I would like to say one more thing. If we're going to start
takes place after the violence started and say well this is now become the issue. I would like to propose that the issue is that on the campuses you who are adults you are entrusted with those young people and their guides. They have a responsibility to make it plain to them from the very beginning that you yourselves do not tolerate the kind of conduct that has led to the burning of wheeler that has led to murders on the campus. I think you know if you stop talking politics that you will be and still are against violence. I think it's precisely because of this region. This is Discovery. Get him fired as he's already done before you create a
political speech or make a political speech right and charge me with trying to fire the chancellor's politics out of the region and out of the running of the university by the way I would like to hear it. OK you bet I'm happy and you bet you won't say anything that would surprise me I'm not a foreigner I am just saying that openly and we all know you cannot do it. If you allow yourself to listen. Interesting violence some interest in water use of firearms and Buckshot if you will that got people responsible. If you would say that if you watch example of escalation you can bet we are watching when were
any of you. When did any of you appear before the students. When did any of you stand up and down there. And we are not out for people to know that after the fact the academics just think that strongly over and over again. But what happens when we nobody has listened to anything we say in the US market. Maybe educators look like we're going to protect them look and we are going to expect us to fight on events. Stop listening to all those people told you four days in advance that if that university shot to go ahead with that construction property that they were going to physically destroyed the university. OK negotiate negotiate what it was. Thank you.
For. The first time some of you think they were doing. Demonstrations continue this one in front of the home of the Berkeley faculty once again expressed confidence in.
But for the first time it was significant. In addition the faculty called on Hines to take down the fence and find a way to let the street people have their part for the police. Violations of the ban on the. After bloody Thursday tactics change this time when the demonstrators marched into the downtown area. The guy was gently. Practically everyone on the street was caught in the flood. Many who had no particular connection with People's Park found themselves caught in the police with no choice but with the others for paddy wagons to take them to prison. Surprisingly there was little resistance on police radio where demonstrators were commonly called creeps but the benefit of. Things went very smoothly. They walked right into it. If
we could hit 500 for the day was that when prisoners began returning from prison here once again filled with disturbing reports over action. I write at 4 a.m. before getting off the bus. Absolutely Martin McAdam
around the bend with barbed wire on the board. Already in a courtyard and up there I think. Walking up and down the rows of men were yelling out that individual and that the group don't bust your head open open your eyes. Don't go to sleep I'll put you to sleep. ACT UP NOW. Oh you mean with the other prisoners here a day and we can't protect you in there at 4:30 pm i ordered to stand up and move into the row behind. Immediately ordered to assume again the lying guard continuously outbred 21:00 I looked around once to see what the thumping noise was that I heard one man was leaning on his nose against a smart
feller supporting the roof and we were far away from the cellar that you could place them periodic Lee a guide would write the fellow with a club. I think the report of the incident sufficiently draws attention to the punishment and torture inflicted by counting on hundreds of defenseless men I know there were violations of the rule and everyone involved will be disciplined. But we've had this scene ever since dissidents to gang up in an institution and misbehave and cause all the difficulty they can. The scene has changed for me I now have some. Young deputies who take people and they should be more or less treated like this I have to correct. The sheriff did not say what disciplinary action would be taken against. But the sad story the level of
appeal from throughout the state of support and behind the scenes Mayor Wallace conferred with the governor and university administrators in Sacramento. But the governor did. The request from the Berkeley City Council that the Guard be withdrawn the university in particular seem to favor a park police arrangement with Berkeley. It would get the university and restore the park. The mayor hopes the university could solve the problem by itself in an effort to at least make the issues clear. He arranged a special two hour live television conference. Between the dispute at this meeting once again rejected outright release of the land but he did offer a revised plan for part of the disputed territory soccer and other play
in the design. Developed by the right where there is good and then a good deal of this development in the early part of the reverb and this is Mr. Devine chief campus architect attempt to reflect the sentiments and wishes. This is in car park like structure. The point I want to make is that I believe this document pretty fully. The fact that we're not adamantly and insensitively going ahead completely unresponsive to some of the expressed wishes of the many people.
In the university community and the student body and elsewhere. This whole area everything that's mentioned Up here everything the chances mentioned everything that the mayor's mention talks about doing something for students doing something for students and the students don't want that. It just seems incredible to me that that the incredible violence that's happened this past past 10 days 11 days has happened because somebody was trying to do something for somebody and that somebody didn't want that done for them. They wanted something else and I think until that can be answered I think you know we're we're tied up in an incredible mess. Now they don't talk about soccer fields Well you see I guess this plane must have been thrown up a week ago. This plane was probably dried up last night. If you see in this plane and we just got a little bit apart here just a little bit but the reaction throughout the state is so great it's so great that they had brought these planes to begin with with this little bit of park here and now we come for today's program. We drew up this plane here and we got a little bit more par.
I'll tell you next week if we have it if we have a program we're going to have a whole car. Hope talk because the people of California will not put up with this incredible disregard for the community feelings by a few people in university administration. Talk about another group of people since we're trying to identify who are the people we mean when we say US or the people we may be talking about 20 million people in the state of California may be talking about one hundred and twenty thousand people in Berkeley. There was a petition we received this last week from 50 people who are immediate residents of the area. And rather than commanding what was going on there. And I want to refer to what they said they were referring to the various disturbances there and they referred to drums and shouting and other crowd noises as late as 2 or 3 a.m. they referred to garbage and human feces litter not only in the park area but on neighboring properties. In other words I don't over stress this I merely say that these people were just as unhappy with the park as apparently Mr. Barkley and
some of the others were happy with it. Also there was a theory in America that when we lost our way we could turn to the universities for guidance. But lately they seem to have been adding to our mental and moral confusion rather than helping us out of the region. Property is involved here and their attitude and interests and concerns have to be taken into account by per person in my position. There are other reasons why I think it is very unlikely that under University control it is possible to turn the property over to people to for spontaneous development. I just I just think that's a fact and a given that I had to live with it. Now I just would like to say that the reason they are so scared of this park is precisely because of the way it was built because their whole life depends upon the kind of structures we have to have an architect draw up planes. We have to have plans submitted debated for a year and a half and decisions made at the top that eventually trickle down to the bottom. That's the way their life is structured that's what they feel comfortable
with. If they aren't working in that kind of structure their own comfortable and people you know people at the bottom were going to feel free. But people the top are losing the control. So I looked out over the city and one of the things I saw were students like Mr. Palmer and 27000 others who do have this desire to participate. I agree with this urge I understand that I think that hopefully we in the city can expect that the resources of this university can rally even as the camp and the league clock would indicate that time is running out a bit this week. With protest leaders devoting all their time on Morial day. The regulations relaxed. The scene on the streets people had previously tried to convert several Bank Park. Are still out of 200 fans with a guardsman and established an instant
flowers and a makeshift fountain despite the fact police demonstrated doing their thing including the first three people as brother and sister. I and. My dog. City council meeting to discuss the possible compromise on the art scene statewide on the California Public Television.
Our meeting was an extraordinary example of how democracy copes with crisis. The people spoke first. It was orderly. It went through. Come with me because we want we. Said my purpose through the body can do right away and there are at least 30 National Guardsmen in there much middle of the street with their bayonets pointed and they go pushing down the street makes a move move in and asked Would you please move we would been glad to we were peaceful. They said Move move so they end up with this far you know six inches away from me. My son had a peace
sign we shall have peace in hell that he said to me Mommy what do they want. War on peace is that words that gentleman. Please take a strong stand tonight. I feel that we have forgotten the issue the issue of you know instigated by the bursting of the elements that are here and have been here. I know them I see them directing the actions of others in these meetings and I have found I feel that I haven't had much experience as anyone on this council or in this room with dealing with coming of age. I don't know why I care what our tribe they come from word of mouth or characterize or failing. I've met them all.
Some children who are so immature that they are then maybe they don't realize that they feel what they have but. The right to private property while a legitimate extension of the more basic human rights to self dignity and expression is neither an absolute nor a primary human right. We affirm the moral injunction of ordinary respect for the property rights of others as a necessary element of public order and good. We condemn those who would frequently abuse the property rights of others. Nevertheless the right to private property is always subject to public control and scrutiny as custodians of the Christians that it has traditionally concerning stewardship mindful always of the Gospel parable of the unjust steward. We condemn as misplaced and fundamentally false. All rhetoric or attitudes which assume an absolute right to private property by which to justify extreme violence to human
life and bodies in its name. I got a lot of Harvey with you. Previous
time one of the greatest. Record of the fact of the past and sort of the fact that
the fact that present for a brain. The fact that the call for ratification. My name is Thomas Hoving commissioner of parks in New York City in 1966 and 67 an administrator of Parks and Recreation and cultural affairs in the city of New York. We were very concerned about citizen participation and all level and about that we wrote. I will direct the pock Department to consider competition of designs by local citizens and local community groups no matter what they were. Is this stereotype past present type of playground apparent throughout the city so how in design
that we cannot grant local citizens of any group the right to plant flowers in boxes and even to build their own recreational areas. Well. There's a great deal of difference in writing something like that than in putting it through. But it was done it was done in Bedford-Stuyvesant it was done in Harlem it was done in Manhattan it was done in good areas it was done in poor areas in tough areas and in beautiful areas. Private industry got to fascinated by this and they gave money for these projects the Bell Telephone Company gave three pocket parks to the city of New York and of this basis and it worked out beautifully. Private citizens private corporations of goodwill saw that this came to pass an extraordinarily successful. Sure we were wary. We were worried about maintaining that we were worried about the longevity what they hang on forever. We were worried about maintaining order in them. But it worked and it's worked all over the country in every city
where there has been trouble. Therefore I would urge you in your wisdom and your expertise of this community to act decisively and affirmatively to pick up this lease arrangement. Millions of people all over the United States are thinking of you gentlemen this evening and your august body and they are hoping that you will act in favor of creativity and in favor of harmony. Thank you for the time. The idea of the city land from university become the chief part. Time street people and students prefer to deal with a relatively conservative city government. But many of them from the university's board of regents strongly influenced by Governor Reagan would be less sympathetic. Even Chancellor honks now pleaded with the city to step in.
As a result. All of these efforts I am convinced that if there is to be a community development arc on this site the only solution is for the university elite or the block to the city of Berkeley or park development. Now I heard that the regents approved such an arrangement. The council had rejected the lease by one vote before we decided to try again. I don't think we should take that position. We've heard expressions from people about reluctance to feel the hot potato and have the courage to take a chance and get away with anarchy in this town and concession and try and block my fortune instead of that.
I. Think. Now I'm suggesting and I think that what we need to do is to say two things. We should point that I think are important. We should segregate in this controversy the manner of the occupant of this university violated some very very valid law that most of us agree ballot and the people who occupy the land in that manner. By lawful means in my judgment. And then when they tried to retake it they were forceful repelled from doing so. Let's segregate the manner in which the land was initially taken from the next point and the next point relates to the validity of the avowed need for recreational land and facilities in that area and we have a city council that in numerable times that we need recreational facilities in that area.
We have difficulty from the fact that these valid points were forcefully brought to our attention by what many of us think of it really blatantly unlawful means and that kind of hangs about that this is the way it was for LIVE brought to our attention and our pride tells us you know not to give in even on these valid points. And that circumstance that not been given even though we have an opportunity perhaps other cities to get the use of a parcel of land of the word approximately a half million dollars for about $1 a year. I say we don't have to have that much pride. So Mr. Mayor I am going to propose this resolution resolve that specific Council approved in principle and here by faith that it is ready and willing to leave from the University of California for a nominal sum. For a period of seven years the eastern portion of that certain parcel of
land that property to be used by the city of Berkeley for recreational purposes. Basically as a user developed and maintained far I think that this motion is not addressed to the substance of the facts. Why don't we place the emphasis right where it belongs and have the administration speak out tomorrow and if necessary then the region speak out where the responsibility rests. And I heard a radiant say within the last 48 hours that the administration at the University of California has the authority right now to do something about this if they wanted to. You will recall that the regents in a boating that this particular property was to be purchased a year or so ago that it was to be for recreational purposes to be to be developed for the university community. They did not say it has to be all a soccer field. They did not say that it has to be just a sterile piece of ground. They're quite willing to stay in this region stated that he quite realizes that the eastern
portion of it is going to be developed for diversified recreational purposes. And he was the one who stated to me yes the administration at the university already has the right to do this if they will but do it. I agree 100 not with what I want. Everything you. We are involved in I brought this thing up over a month ago and urged that he do and then demand that the region do you California do something about cleaning that man out. But I would read you know I went to Chandler. Come on. The matter I tell you a story.
You. Know we do it. My no vote will be on a different made Did we not need that type of vetted wanted in that neighborhood that neighborhood had enough problems U.S. administration had over the past five years demonstrated they are absolutely incompetent to control their student population and prevent the prostitution of their foot. If they had been treated in accordance with the legal responsibility in regard to the park they would have talked out but when they turned over the word shovel full of dirt you do not need a park in that area. But if you people want. We need yeah if you want a neighborhood park like the gentleman from New York
said. In the outlying areas but not near that troubled area. Twenty four hundred block of Telegraph Avenue. I think we have to be frank. That we don't not we do not have the power in this situation. The University of California owns the land. There's no question of that. They presently have the control of the land. There's no question about that. The only thing we are doing is in a spirit of cooperation to give the University of California another option. I respect your view but I disagree with you completely and I'm quite distressed by the fact that you used the phrase today that I hadn't heard except as it cropped up in a closed meeting this afternoon and it's the new phrase we are giving the university Another option that is the most inaccurate statement I've heard this evening. I have just stated and I know it's a fact that at least one region thinks that the chancellor and the president
already have that option. We're not giving them anything and you know it. Now that we have gleaned most from many of the discussions that we've had not now with everything but with others that the students look upon this as being really a ball of passing kind of thing. They want some agency of government that has a clear definitive plan that indicates that it's willing to do something maybe something extraordinary in order to show that it is responsive to something that the students indicate or their needs and their desires. All right. The suggestion here is simply that we have divided the regions. Mr Huang wrote that that we are ready and willing as a city body to accept the lease of this property for certain purposes for a given period of time and for a very nominal sum. I think this tell the students and other people in the community something quite clearly and simply without any strings attached.
I believe if we have this motion in the first place it's going to be kept as elated and misconstrued by the press and therefore the people of this community who are eager to think that the unity that the city council of Berkeley has in fact made this possible. The transference of this property back to the people who are in the park here is what this afternoon's press said. Hines in effect said it is up to the council to decide whether to lease part of the site which he indicated was the only solution to the continuing crisis in the city. In a responsible newspaper one which I respect greatly. Coming to that snap conclusion why aren't we going to expect that emotionally aroused people will think that it's all in the bag except for the details and they're full of details which you've yet to be decided and the raising of people's expectations when I found nothing at all to
justify it after talking to a vast majority of the regents I think is not only an irresponsible act but I don't think that it will be interpreted as anything else but that the deal is already done. Now let's take the consequences when people take that assumption they'll be dancing in the streets and hearth and Grant tonight when they hear this decision if it goes to what you call a. Council and of honor. Yes yes. FRANK No. I have. T. T. T. America. America. I want to hear you know.
Me here in. Atlanta.
While the parade route Guardsmen with guns and gas were prepared for any eventuality. Ambulances were standing by to carry casualties. Helicopters circle constantly overhead. Armed officers watched from rooftops. The American Friends Service Committee distributed for the marchers. They wore the flowers and their clothing on The People's Park. Even some policemen wore days police costs for the past two weeks. Cost of the land on which People's Park is located. It was automatic with the bank but at least there is reason as a result
of such a lease and the peaceful outcome of Friday's March. I hope that some of the violence and confrontation is up to the 24 member of the University of California. Our confrontations are just as Johnson. We cannot depend on regulations by the hiring of more police. We cannot expect hypocrisy to appeal to those who are eager for something to believe we cannot hope that authority for its own sake will be respected by those who search for truth. We cannot expect to be questioned by inquisitive mind you are.
Berkeley People's Park War
Producing Organization
KQED-TV (Television station : San Francisco, Calif.)
Contributing Organization
KQED (San Francisco, California)
Library of Congress (Washington, District of Columbia)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip-55-bk16m33g2c).
Program Description
"'Berkeley People's Park War' is an hour-long documentary on the celebrated People's Park Controversy. It draws heavily upon the extensive coverage, both live and film, of the confrontations, conferences, and marches in this heated test of basic values in our present society."--1969 Peabody Awards entry form. The program begins with footage of the Memorial Day protest in defense of the Berkeley People's Park, focusing on the protestors and the National Guard and police that were brought in. The dispute is over an initially vacant lot on the campus of the University of California, which the students turned into a park. The owner of the lot would rather it be a soccer field, sparking the dispute. The program goes into how the dispute arose and intensified, the riots and police violence that followed, and continued protests, with comments from university officials, student and community representatives, and city officials. A group of professors from the university visit Governor Ronald Reagan to urge de-escalation of violence. Protests, arrests, and violence continue. A public forum with the city government gives the citizens of Berkeley an opportunity to express their opinions on how to resolve the dispute. The university leases the land to the city for public park development, ending the conflict.
Broadcast Date
Asset type
Event Coverage
Social Issues
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Associate Producer: Bernklau, Rod
Narrator: Wax, Mel
Producer: Russin, Joseph
Producing Organization: KQED-TV (Television station : San Francisco, Calif.)
Reporter: Thomas, Trevor
Reporter: Benet, James
Speaker: Reagan, Ronald
Speaker: Hoving, Thomas
Speaker: DeBonis, John
Speaker: Hanley, William C.
Speaker: Van der Ryn, Sim
Speaker: Madigan, Frank
Speaker: Siegel, Dan
Speaker: Schlesinger, Wendy
Speaker: Sweeney, Wilmont
Speaker: Johnson, Wallace
Speaker: Bardacke, Frank
Speaker: Heyns, Roger
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: cpb-aacip-551c58cfb88 (Filename)
Format: 1 inch videotape
Generation: Master
Duration: 1:00:26
Library of Congress
Identifier: cpb-aacip-e62853efc5b (Filename)
Format: 2 inch videotape
Generation: Master
Color: B&W
Library of Congress
Identifier: cpb-aacip-a049f77b8a0 (Filename)
Format: U-matic
Generation: Copy: Access
Color: B&W
Library of Congress
Identifier: cpb-aacip-8425b834437 (Filename)
Format: 1 inch videotape: SMPTE Type C
Generation: Master
Color: B&W
Identifier: cpb-aacip-ee42e2d6e0c (unknown)
Format: application/mxf
Duration: 1:00:26
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Berkeley People's Park War,” 1969, KQED, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 27, 2022,
MLA: “Berkeley People's Park War.” 1969. KQED, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 27, 2022. <>.
APA: Berkeley People's Park War. Boston, MA: KQED, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from