GIs for Peace March, October 12, 1968
Protests that started on campus, moved into the community, then confronted the draft system, next spread into the armed forces directly. “GI’s for Peace” became the leading banner in the April 27, 1968 and October 12, 1968 marches against the war in Vietnam.
Soldiers in uniform appeared at the October 12th rally and spoke against the war, disobeying orders and subjecting themselves to imprisonment and army discipline. Two days after this rally, soldiers, in uniform and out of uniform, assembled for a march on the San Francisco Presidio army base where imprisoned soldiers had been charged with mutiny for protesting the war.
The October 12, 1968 GIs for Peace march to end the war in Vietnam was a turning point in the peace movement. Harvey photographed this march led by active duty soldiers in uniform in full defiance of U.S. Army orders not to march. The march reflected the increased numbers of soldiers rebelling against the war. During 1968, there were 155,536 individuals who were Away Without Leave (AWOL) from the U.S. Army (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidio_mutiny). Of those 53,357 were designated desertions.
On October 14, 1968, two days after the march, 27 prisoners in the Presidio brig staged a sit down protest over conditions there. Newspaper headlines read “Mutiny in the Presidio”. The sit down protesters sang “We Shall Overcome” and were charged with desertion with a possible death penalty.
Two days after this rally, soldiers, in uniform and out of uniform, assembled for a march on the San Francisco Presidio army base where imprisoned soldiers had been charged with mutiny for protesting the war.
Harvey Richards photography helped overcome the isolation imposed on the United States’ peace movement by mainstream press censorship and bias in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. His photo images of the peace movement are displayed in 18 galleries.
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