Jun 2, 2003

Barry B., thanks for the reference to the "Knoxville 22." I had no idea we had our own little cottage protest industry here in K-town, complete with vandalism and fire bombings.

There you go again Rich. There was no vandalism and no fire bombings associated with the Knoxville 22

A brief history of THE KNOXVILLE 22 since I just spent 3 hours at Lawson McGhee Library reading the Jan 1970 News Sentinel on microfiche:

1) a Faculty and Student committee was set up to review candidates for replacement of Andy Holt as UT Pres.
2) That committee reccommended several academics as potential candidate and asked specifically that Edward J. Boling not be selected because he was a fund raiser not an educator.
3) My familiy and I were good friends of the Bolings and I worked for him as head of the Student Alumni Fund Raising Office. I had nothing against Ed Boling.
4) On Jan 15 following revelations that the Board of Trustees had not listened to student faculty committee reccomendations and selected Boling a Rally was called for on the Hill across from Ayers Hall in front of the Adm. Building.
5) Gus Hadorn, Peter Kami, Carol Bible and a few others spoke to a small crowd of about 200. At the end one of them said we should go into the adm building and stand in the "Drop and Add" lines to slow down the administration.
6) Most of the people there thought that idea was boring and started to walk away.
7) Classes were changing and a few 100 more students started crossing the area. At the same time a phalanx of helmeted UT cops with Shields came marching into the area with riot batons and began shoving students back. They galvanized the crowd.
8)Aside from some shoving as they were being pushed and a single broken diamond shaped pane of glass in an admin building window there was no 'violence' of any kind. Students voiced thier opinion of a right to assembly.
9) The UT cops formed a semi-circle in front of the admin entrance.
10) Dean Almond or Burchett announced that anyone who did not leave immediately would be arrested.
11) About 100 City cops poured out of the admin building and began arresting people. They had obviously been in the building from the start.

The incident was precipitated by the UT administration and the city government particularly the Attorney General and the Police and Mayor Leonard Rogers. It was planned as a way to nip any campus protest in the bud. Kami was called a Commie and Rep Duncan (John the Sr.) called for his arrest and deportation back to Brazil. - He was a foreign student.

I had gone to the hill to register and was coming out of the admin building when the assembly was in process. I had been President of the Freshman Class, President of my fraternity, on the student senate, and on the student supreme court. I stopped to talk with 3 fraternity brothers in front of the building and my picture was taken by surveilance cameras and featured on the front page of the News-Sentinel in the foreground in front of the protesters looking in the opposite direction.

Six weeks after the incident I was arrested for Inciting a Riot on a true bill handed down by the grand jury brought by the REPUBLICAN Attorney General based solely on the picture that appeared in the News Sentinel (it can be seen at the library). My father who had been the Democratic County Judge and candidate for congress against Howard Baker Sr. was to be smeared and discredited by my arrest.

Those events made me into a radical.

My father asked me to plead to the misdemeanor of obstructing the entrance to a public building and I did so on his behalf. He was afraid that in the climate of the day that the Felony of Inciting a Riot (although no riot occurred and I had no part in not inciting it) could lead to five years of imprisonment.

Eventually no one was tried for the felony and all misdemeanor fines were dropped. It was merely the Conservative Republican way to stifle dissent in East Tennessee.

Comment on the RTB Forum
Post a Comment