2 june 1968 & native americans prepare for protest at national press bldg
#OTD 2 June 1968 Forty Native Americans, participants in the Poor People's Campaign, prepare for their protest at the National Press Building (529-14th St NW). Their goal was to confront the members of the National Press Club (primarily white males) about their racist reporting. Three of the activists were Pat Baker, Mandan Blackfoot; Nokeeshik, an artist from Pacific Northwest; and Martha Grass from Ponca City, OK.
The photo above shows the protestors in front of the National Press Building, probably after they had entered the lobby and were prevented from going further into the building.
The signs read:
"All Indians Are Not Chiefs"
"Editors Pencils, Broken Windows, Broken Treaties, Broken Lives"
"Equality Begins With Truth"
"The Truth [?]. American Press, Never Hurt Anyone." [?]
About half of the group met with Stewart Udall (white), Secretary of the Interior, after the protest. According to the Evening Star, Martha Grass stated, "I wanted to really come up here and see who's making me poor. How could a white man know my needs as a person?"
Pat Baker stated, "I hear Mr. Udall speak. I don't think he said anything - you haven't told me anything." He also stated, "We shouldn't have to be here in the first place because we're Indians.
Nokeeshik had documents showing the wealth of "national resources owned by Indians, particularly Navajo, and demanded to know why Indians were so poor."
Your comments are welcome below. Did you, a family member or neighbor participate in the protest and meeting? Do you recognize anyone in the photo? Do you remember seeing or reading about the protest? You may comment privately here.
Photo source: Courtesy of DC Public Library Special Collections, 3 June 1968. Bernie Boston, photographer.
"March: Justice Dept is Target," Evening Star, 3 June 1968.
David Braaten, "Indians Strike Back at Bad Press," 6 June 1968.