(click to enlarge photos)
I first read Kit Bakke’s ‘Protest on Trial’ as a work-in-progress. The book’s publisher, Washington State University Press, shared a copy of the manuscript with me for comment, and as I read through it I increasingly responded with recommendations. This week’s edited excerpt of the book’s brilliant late chapter on courtroom mayhem should, I hope, inspire many PacificNW readers to read it all.
Doyal Gudgel Sr. snapped the two “more” historical photographs printed here in 1970 at the front door of the Federal Court House, directly across Fifth Avenue from the Seattle Public Library. The oldest one, with the phalanx of helmeted Seattle police guarding the courthouse’s broken front door, was photographed on Feb. 17, 1970. That was TDA or “The Day After”, a one Winter day of protest. (Again, I’m confident that readers will be enlivened to learn more about the TDA and the many political shenanigans surrounding it by reading the book.) Besides smashing the front door, angrier TDA protesters also threw paint, and some of it can be seen in long drippings above the front door.
It seems (at least) that in the second Gudgel snapshot (at the top) the running paint survives as a smear above the same door on April 17, 1970 when it was time for another organized protest. (Read the book, OK?) As a “stringer” providing both still shots like these and 16mm film for media clients and law enforcement investigations, Gudgel responded to opportunities he first discovered on the police radio reports he listened to while tending his store, Burien Radio and Television.
The photographer most likely arrived somewhat late for the April recording at the Courthouse. The day started with a protest march in morning rain, while here the afternoon sun casts long afternoon shadows. To these eyes Gudgel’s April recording resembles a designed tableau. The man on the far left seems to be drawn, at least in profile, from a central casting for tough investigators.
The sunlit April photograph is aiming at one of the Seattle Seven: Jeffrey Alan Dowd, who at 20-years-old carried a mop of curly hair above a still cherubic face. Now decades later Dowd, living in Southern California, is better known as “The Dude” an eccentric pop creation from Hollywood. Here the pre-dude Dowd is cradled by admirers of his political courage, some of them showing fists and one of them slim arms reaching, it seems, in reverence.
Anything to add, troublemakers? Yes Jean we will stir a few more column inches below with more features.