The Summer of Hate...(5:40 RealAudio 28K | 14K by The Wandering Jew) 1968

173rd Airborne in battle for Hill 8353 3 dead NVA regulars in Saigon MLK, Jr RFK with Chicano workers A slain King at Lorraine Hotel Hubert Horatio Humprhey Girl & guards, Chicago (Charles Bonnay/LIFE)
      The 1967 summer of love was followed by the 1968 summer of hate. Really it began New Year's Day, January 31: the Chinese Lunar New Year's, called Tet. Breaking the Tet truce, the North Vietnamese launched their largest assault yet, and their first in non-rural areas, staging simultaneous attacks in 5 major cities, 36 provincial capitals, 64 district capitals, and many villages. In Saigon suicide squads stormed the presidential Independence Palace, the radio station, the ARVN's joint General Staff Compound, Tan Son Nhut airfield, and the United States embassy.
      Within a few days, the Americans and South Vietnamese had reclaimed most of Ho Chi Minh's gain. But the Tet Offensive awoke the American government, and especially the American people to the fact that years of bombing had not had the predicted effect of squashing communist resolve.
      In 1968, Memphis public sanitation employees were denied the right to collectively bargain for fair wages and worker's rights. The Reverend Doctor Martin Luthur King, Jr. went there to help. On April 4, he was shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel. That night 100 cities burned in riots.
      Robert F. Kennedy was running for president, and about to address an Indianapolis crowd when he got the news. He made a impromtu moving call for peace. Two months later, Ted Kennedy would deliver his brother's eulogy. On June 4, in Los Angeles, RFK was shot after delivering his California Democratic Primary victory speech.

``And some began to say that threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers? Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop."
--Dr. King, Mason Temple, Memphis, April 3, 1968
      The 1968 Democratic National Convention was held in Chicago's International Amphitheatre. It began Monday, August 26. Two days later, so did the riots. Mayor Richard Daley (who the night of Dr. King's death had issued his police "shoot to kill" orders) had this to say: ``The police are not here to cause disorder, the police are here to preserve disorder."
      The evening television coverage juxtaposed Vice-President Hubert Humphrey's landslide nomination with film of anti-Vietnam War protesters being beaten and tear-gassed in the streets outside the convention hall.
      Humphrey went on to lose to Richard Nixon in November by a 1% margin. American troops would fight in Vietnam through two more presidential elections and seven more years. It was the United States' longest war.

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