People’s park in Berkeley, CA


Professor Mackin talked about a short incident that happened in the city of Berkeley in class today. UC Berkeley was one of my top choice schools and a big incident like People’s Park Controversy instantly drew my attention. The University originally bought the land in 1956 to build student housing and offices. But due to the lack of funding, a plan stopped for a year. Then, the University changed the plan to build a student parking lot. Once again, the University ran out of funding, ultimately, they stopped whole development of expanding the school. Residents and students of the area wanted to make use of the unused land: a public park with a free-speech microphone where anyone can speak feely. However, because of Governor’ Reagan and his greed to use the park as his campaign promises, polices and highway patrol end up clearing the park. With this, few violent fights between citizens and polices continued. A student, James Rector, was killed with gun shot and minor injuries among many innocent bystanders and policemen. After “Bloody Thursday” with all violence, 3/10 of the Berkeley citizens marched through the barricades of park. During the march, citizens displayed their desire for non-violence action by young girls put down flowers on National’ Guard’s rifles. Ultimately, five-year University/City lease agreement ended in March 1996, the land became real “People’s Park.”


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