Tom Dalzell - The Battle for People's Park, Berkeley 1969 (Corte Madera Store)

Thursday, June 27, 2019 - 7:00pm

In Conversation with Steve Wasserman, Bill Petrocelli, Robert Thompson, and Judy Gumbo • Moderated by Beth Spotswood

In eyewitness testimonies and hundreds of remarkable photographs, The Battle for People's Park, Berkeley 1969 commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of one of the most searing conflicts that closed out the tumultuous 1960s: the Battle for People's Park.

In April 1969, a few Berkeley activists planted the first tree on a University of California-owned, abandoned city block on Telegraph Avenue. Hundreds of people from all over the city helped build the park as an expression of a politics of joy. The University was appalled, and warned that unauthorized use of the land would not be tolerated; and on May 15, which would soon be known as Bloody Thursday, a violent struggle erupted, involving thousands of people. Hundreds were arrested, martial law was declared, and the National Guard was ordered by then-Governor Ronald Reagan to crush the uprising and to occupy the entire city. The police fired shotguns against unarmed students. A military helicopter gassed the campus indiscriminately, causing schoolchildren miles away to vomit. One man died from his wounds. Another was blinded. The vicious overreaction by Reagan helped catapult him into national prominence. Fifty years on, the question still lingers: Who owns the Park?

Tom Dalzell first came to Berkeley in the summer of 1968 while working for Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers in Delano. He worked for the UFW during the summers of 1968–1971 and then full-time from 1972 to 1980. He is now the elected leader of Local 1245 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. He has written extensively on slang and is the author of the Quirky Berkeley blog and books. The blog includes accounts of various progressive activists in Berkeley from the 1960s and 1970s. He has lived in Berkeley since 1984.

Steve Wasserman graduated from UC Berkeley in 1974 with a degree in criminology. He went on to become deputy editor of the Op-Ed Page and Opinion section of the Los Angeles Times and was later appointed editor of the paper’s Sunday Book Review section. He was also editorial director of New Republic Books; Hill and Wang at Farrar, Straus & Giroux; and Times Books at Random House. Later, he was a partner of Kneerim & Williams, a literary agency, where he represented numerous authors, including James Fenton, Christopher Hitchens, Frederic Raphael, Linda Ronstadt, Robert Scheer, and David Thomson. Most recently, he was editor at large for Yale University Press, until 2016, when he became publisher and executive director of Heyday, in Berkeley.

Location: 
51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925
The Battle for People's Park, Berkeley 1969 Cover Image
By Tom Dalzell, Todd Gitlin (Foreword by), Steve Wasserman (Afterword by)
$60.00
ISBN: 9781597144681
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Heyday Books - May 15th, 2019

"Resplendent.... A masterwork of history."--Ron Jacobs, Counterpunch

In eyewitness testimonies and hundreds of remarkable photographs, The Battle for People's Park, Berkeley 1969 commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of one of the most searing conflicts that closed out the tumultuous 1960s: the Battle for People's Park.