Tuesday, November 4th, 2008, Grant Park, Chicago Illinois: 70,000 ticketed guests, with who knows how many additional participants, gathered to listen to President-elect Barack Obama; elected just minutes before. This group of hundreds of thousands of young and old, rich and poor, of all colors, genders, and ethnicities gathered to hear our first Irish-African-American President inspire them with a message of hope and determination to make the country, and indeed the world, a better place for our children and grandchildren. While not there, I watched this event on a screen, through tears of great joy; shared with Spike Lee, Jesse Jackson and Oprah.
(click images for larger view)
Wednesday, August 29th, 1968, Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois: Just 40 years earlier; just 4 years after President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law; at the hight of the Viet Nam War and the military draft; as a twenty two year old photo journalist, I was in Grant Park with 15,000 others, including Jean Genet, Allan Ginsberg and William Burroughs (none of which lived to see today). Instead of tears of joy and hope; we had tear gas, clubs and blood to contemplate and record on film and in our memories.
Today the memories of 1968 blend beautifully with 2008 memories.
We wanted change then and we want it today.