[March for Disarmament, Master #4]

Part of the Global Perspectives on War and Peace Collection. On June 12th, 1982, nearly 1 million people poured into Central Park in a march to support United Nations talks on nuclear disarmament. Independent producers, dozens from across the United States, gathered to broadcast the event, providing live news coverage for public stations as an alternative to network television.

00:00Copy video clip URL A reporter interviews Susan Holmes, an actor with the Bread and Puppet Theater, which was founded on New York City’s Lower East Side and, in 1974, relocated to Vermont. Behind the reporter stand three figures in horse costumes. Holmes explains the three sections of the Bread and Puppet Theater’s performance for an upcoming parade. The reporter interviews another woman with the Bread and Puppet Theater and asks her opinion of the parade.

01:13Copy video clip URL A speaker at the front stage at the Central Park rally criticizes President Ronald Reagan’s hypocritical stance on disarmament. Organizers prepare to distribute 60,000 telegrams to the crowd to sign and send back to Reagan.

02:34Copy video clip URL In the background, videomakers strategize over interview prospects. The speaker at the stage podium continues denouncing the nuclear arms race, calling on Reagan to freeze arms production. He leads the crowd in a chant to “Freeze now!” Camera pans the crowd gathered. A master of ceremonies announces the opening of another stage for entertainment acts (such as Peter, Paul, and Mary) and the next speakers under the title “Serious Business.”

05:24Copy video clip URL Reporter Carlos de Jesus reports in Spanish. Roughly translated, he says, speaking to the camera’s audience: “I’m back again with you to close out this segment of the demonstration. Yes, this is serious business, as the representative Mickey Leland from Texas told us. Over 800,000 people are here at the demonstration. Actress Susan Sarandon posed the question to him if his presence at this demonstration could cause problems for his career. Leland said that his life was more important than his career. Also, the singer Joan Baez said that in the fourteen years of attending these kinds of demonstrating, this was the first time that she truly believed that the conscience of the country has awakened, not just to the terror of the Russians, but awakened to the terror of the same nuclear arms we’re creating.” de Jesus also reports on remarks made by a Swedish demonstrator [Maybrid Theyron] who says that the decade of the 1980s will be an important one for realizing changes in political and military policies in the United States, internationally and domestically. The rally represents a new stage in political demonstrations for her and the public’s protest of the terror of nuclear arms.

07:13Copy video clip URL Audience listens to male and female singer singing about nuclear annihilation.

07:44Copy video clip URL Credits flash on screen. More shots of the Central Park audience.

09:12Copy video clip URL Nancy Cain, behind stage, identifies sponsors to wrap up coverage. Cain says the program has been broadcast via satellite by the Public Interest Video Network. She thanks other independent stations who have covered the event, as well as Carlos de Jesus and Daniel Del Solar who provided Spanish coverage of the event.

10:43Copy video clip URL Camera returns to the crowd as the musicians continue singing. An announcer comes on stage to ask the crowd in the front rows to give more space to people in wheelchairs. He then announces the next speaker, Ralph Carter, an actor from the CBS sitcom Good Times.

12:14Copy video clip URL Credits roll across the screen as Carter takes the mic at the stage. Carter says, “I ain’t come here to talk about Good Times. I have come in the spirit of my African ancestors…” He talks about the importance for people of African descent to “study their history well,” recognize the consequences of history as a chain of events and that “our holocaust is still going on.” Carter sings a song of perseverance and courage. Linda Ronstadt announced to the stage.

14:41Copy video clip URL End of credits and cut to black.

15:32Copy video clip URL Tape resumes, silent audio. The crowd at Central Park rises, clapping, arms swaying, shaking to a musical beat. Linda Ronstadt and her band perform onstage, however the audio is missing.

17:28Copy video clip URL Audio resumes. Ronstadt performs her cover of “Tumbling Dice” by the Rolling Stones, from her record Simple Dreams.

19:45Copy video clip URL “Blue Bayou” performed by Ronstadt. A sign language interpreter can be seen onstage with the band.

24:11Copy video clip URL Ronstadt introduces Rosemary Butler and Nicolette Larson onstage. They perform “It’s in His Kiss.”

27:56Copy video clip URL Ronstadt performs “Desperado” by the Eagles.

31:54Copy video clip URL Faint color bars overlay the screen with other images from the rally. Ronstadt’s band comes back out to perform “(Love is Like A) Heat Wave.” Video fades to black and then returns to the performers onstage.

34:42Copy video clip URL Ronstadt performs “Back in the U.S.A” by Chuck Berry and conclude their set.

38:20Copy video clip URL Dick Gregory takes the podium. “You’re here today to write the page they left out of the United States Constitution,” he says. He then introduces Albert Vann, a representative of the Black and Puerto Rican caucus of the New York State Legislature.

42:01Copy video clip URL As the audience waits for Vann to take the stage, Gregory promotes protest t-shirts being sold at the rally. He denounces Reagan’s approval of a new military budget and calls on the audience to take action.

43:58Copy video clip URL Albert Vann takes the podium. He introduces a fellow member of the labor movement who calls on the need for nuclear disarmament and redistribution of funds in the arms race for bettering social institutions.

49:18Copy video clip URL Vann returns to the podium to introduce the next speaker who talks about the overkill of spending on nuclear bombs and the need to rebuild the industrial working base of the United States.

52:17Copy video clip URL Vann introduces the next speaker. Scenes from around the crowd along with the noise of crowd chatter and chanting.

54:48Copy video clip URL Image of a press pass for the event for Renee Willard of Suburban News. A button reads, “March to Freeze the Arms Race June 12th.”

56:23Copy video clip URL Dick Gregory makes announcements and attempts to resolve a crowd flow situation. He then announces James Taylor to the stage.

58:07Copy video clip URL James Taylor takes the stage. He gathers at the mic with two other singers and begin singing a cappella “That Lonesome Road.”

61:19Copy video clip URL Taylor straps on an acoustic guitar and begins “You’ve Got a Friend.” Tape image begins to distort and skip across the screen.

 

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