"Intro To Berkeley via People's Park" Berkeley by RedEaredPanda
Berkeley Travel Guide: 195 reviews and 395 photos
1957 - University of California Regents earmark $1.3 million for purchase of land in the area. South of Campus (more playing fields, faculty offices, parking).
1967 - U.C. report recommends purchase of future People's Park site, claiming area "scene of hippie concentration and rising crime."
1968 - University sends eviction notices to residents; bulldozes their houses; creates muddy lot.
April 13, 1969 - Local merchants and residents meet and propose alternative uses for the vacant site, which has now become an eyesore (childcare clinic, crafts commune, baseball, rock concerts). Mike Delacour proposes a user-developed community park.
April 20, 1969 - People's Park is created. Hundreds of people clear ground, plant trees, grass, flowers, set up playground equipment. Free food is distributed.
May 6, 1969 - Chancellor Heyns meets with members of the People's Park Committee, student politicians, and members of the College of Environmental Design. Gives them three weeks to come up with a plan for the park. Promises no construction will begin without prior warning.
May 15, 1969 - "Bloody Thursday" -- 250 Highway Patrol and Berkeley police offers invade the park at 4:45 a.m. and clear an 8-block area around the site. Construction of perimeter fence begins. After a noontime rally on Sproul Plaza, a crowd of 6000 moves towards the park. Police fire tear gas. Protestors throw rocks and bottles. Sheriff Deputies retaliate with double-0 buckshot, blinding one man (Alan Blanshard), mortally wounding another (James Rector). At least 128 injuries, but no policemen hospitalized. Towards evening, Governor Reagan calls out the National Guard and bans public assembly.
May 16-28, 1969. Protests continue on a daily basis. National Guardsmen block Sather Gate. A helicopter sprays the campus with CS tear gas. Campus referendum massively endorses the Park. People's Park annexes spring up all over Berkeley. 9000 students protest in Sacramento.
May 29, 1969. Chancellor Heyns announces his support for leasing part of the Park to the City.
May 30, 1969. 30,000 people march peacefully past the Park.
June 20, 1969. U.C. Regents vote to turn the Park into a soccer field and parking lot. The Park is surrounded by a chain-link fence and kept under 24-hour guard.
1972. In May, after Nixon announces he'll mine North Vietnam's main port, an outraged crowd tears down the fence. In September, the Berkeley City Council votes to lease the site.
1978 - UC announces a consultation agreement between itself, the People's Park Project (ASUC) and the Native Plant Forum. A short era of peace allows the People's Park Stage to be built (community development). UC announces plan to pave the parking lot at People's Park. UC tries to coopt the USCA (UC Student Housing Co-Ops) into backing the parking plot plan.
1985 - Park users plant trees and install benches in the Park, subsequently uprooted by UC Police and grounds crew.
Anti-apartheid movement sweeps Berkeley.
1986 - Catholic Worker starts serving free food in the park, the People's Cafe. UC orders them to stop feeding poor people, then backs off under pressure.
1988 - UC rousts homeless from Park, confiscates belongings. Undercover agents make publicized drug arrests.
January 9, 1996 - Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien has told city leaders that he will ask the regents to leave it as open space only if the city has a workable plan for making the park attractive and danger- free. City Council votes 8-0-1 to keep People's Park open space. City agrees to manage people's park; drops plan to remove free box; University retains property rights.
Today, the people's park hosts many concerts from different ethnic packgrounds.. One sees homeless people roaming the park and students crossing the park to get to university campus.
Dancing and enjoying the park in 1960's.. Photo provided by Herb Grossman on People's Park website.
Resistance to the cops by some wearing tear gas masks.. Photo provided by Kathryn Bigelow from People's Park Website.
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