Kivie Kaplan of Chestnut Hill and Vineyard Haven, a civil rights leader active in the national N.A.A.C.P., was among those who attended the Peace March in Washington last week, and he has written the following account of that experience, which he described as an inspiring one.
“To see the more than a quarter of a million dedicated young men and women and very few adults certainly showed that there was hope for the future, with our wonderful youth of today.
“Of course there were some outbursts which were not our group, and things like this unfortunately happen in every facet of life where we have dissidence even on the boards of directors of churches and synagogues.
“The Religious Action Center processed 1,100 of our youth. When I say processed, I mean they took care of housing, etc., and with places for them to sleep in homes all over Greater Washington, and those who came in late, and too late to process, slept at the Religious Action Center on the floors on all four floors of the building, on blankets, sleeping bags, and they were properly fed and taken care of.
“They also had religious services to suit themselves and it was really great.
“We did have this unpleasant experience of the tear gas. We stayed at the DuPont Plaza Hotel, where there was some of these so-called fireworks, so that we had a good cry and a good cough on account of the over-anxiety of the Washington police, trigger happy with their tear gas bombs, so that the hotel was all full of this gas, but we got over it okay.
“We did have an experience in the elevator when it was overloaded and everybody was coughing and crying and the elevator got stuck, fortunately on the second floor, and we were able to force the door open with no ill effects outside of a little nervousness.
“All in all, this was a great, great experience and I am sorry that more of our family and friends didn’t take advantage of it.
“Dr. S. Norman Feingold, the Director of the B’nai B’ith Vocational Commission, of which I happen to be treasurer, met with me at the plane, and there was a three-day convention of a group training hard core unemployable blacks at the Startler Hilton, and I was asked to address a luncheon as a representative of the N.A.A.C.P. They were a wonderful group, and I had a chance to tell them some of the problems - this was a black and white group.”