by Kit Bakke
WSU Press – 252 pp – $22.95
Author Kit Bakke believes that the freedom to organize and protest are crucial to American democracy. But across the nation in the late 1960s and early 1970s, courtroom decisions and the FBI’s utilization of wiretapping, warrantless break-ins, and informants were destroying activist groups and threatening those rights. The Emerald City was no exception. In her new book, Protest on Trial: The Seattle 7 Conspiracy, Bakke chronicles the dramatic story surrounding the arrests and trial of seven Seattle Liberation Front (SLF) leaders.
As anti-Vietnam efforts accelerated across the U.S., young activists converged on Seattle, drawn by its natural environment, counter-culture reputation, and history of political dissent. After a February 1970 antiwar demonstration at the city’s downtown federal courthouse culminated with multiple injuries and arrests, the Seattle 7—Michael Abeles, Jeff Dowd, Joe Kelly, Michael Lerner, Roger Lippman, Chip Marshall, and Susan Stern—faced federal conspiracy and intent to riot indictments. When it appeared the government would lose their case, the presiding judge issued a stunning ruling that abruptly ended the chaotic proceedings and sent the defendants to prison.
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and President Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell had targeted the SLF for, as Hoover termed it, “neutralization.” Bakke examines their tactics and contemplates why the Department of Justice chose to use a heavyweight legal weapon in Seattle, even though other cities harbored larger and more violent antiwar targets.
Like the trial, the counterculture movement was improvisational and messy. The Seattle 7 inhabited an exhausting vortex of idealism, violent rhetoric and indulgent pleasures. Bakke conducted dozens of interviews with defendants, their attorneys, FBI agents, journalists, jurors, the U.S. Marshal, students, and SLF members, supporters, and critics. She is the first book author to focus on the anti-Vietnam movement in a single city and include perspectives from participants on both sides of the barricades. She shares their thoughts as they reflect on that politically complex and emotional time.
Although not in Seattle during that era, Bakke was an activist, and is intimately familiar with the political and social culture. In college, she founded a chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). After graduation, she worked in the SDS Chicago national office and later joined the militant Weatherman faction, participating in antiwar and anti-capitalism actions around the country. Born and raised in Seattle, she returned to work as a pediatric oncology nurse. She holds bachelor’s degrees in nursing and political science, and master’s degrees in nursing and public health. Today, she volunteers in local philanthropic organizations and writes. Her first book was Miss Alcott’s E-Mail: Yours for Reforms of All Kinds.
Protest on Trial is paperback, 6″ x 9″, 252 pages, and lists for $22.95. It is available through bookstores nationwide, direct from WSU Press at 800-354-7360, or online at wsupress.wsu.edu.
The King County Archives recently completed a project to image and rehouse 45 volumes of Assessor’s timber cruise reports dating from 1907-08. Valued by researchers for their detail and accuracy, the reports are a unique resource for this time period in King County. And, as you can see by the map from Report for Section 2, Township 20, Range 7E – they are also quite beautiful.
High-quality copies of these records are now easily accessible through the King County Archives public search site. Read more here.
Allied Arts of Renton celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2014. To honor their achievements, Barbara Nilson, an AKCHO Award-winning author as well as a lifetime member of Allied Arts, compiled a 170-page book on the group’s history, which is also a history of the City of Renton since 1964. Allied Arts was actually formed in 1963 but became official June 2, 1964.
An attempt was made by Nilson to include minutes and/or letters concerning each group of officers over the years and their amazing projects. Allied Arts has sponsored the Annual Art show which was initiated in 1965, and colored photos of the event are included as are pages of the popular Chalk Art competition and the dedication of the Performing Arts Center. Nancy Osborn, a former AAR president, was the instigator for building the Arts Center; a listing of contributors is included in the book. Among the group’s numerous art projects are the sponsorship of student musicians and the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert each year. AAR has also purchased numerous paintings for Renton that are depicted in the book and hanging in City Hall.
Original fundraisers were the Christmas Ball at $5 per ticket and a backyard Salmon Bake costing a $5 contribution for the barbecue supper and social hour.
The final nine pages of the book are a list of the officers and main projects from 1963 to 2017 compiled by Char Baker, a former president. Other members of the committee that produced the book were: Deloris Dewing and Linda Middlebrooks, current co-presidents, and Sonja Kyes, longtime member. Technical Editor was Eva Sachs. A book signing was held November 14 at the Renton History Museum.
The books may be purchased for $20 from Barbara Nilson, Aqua818@icloud.com or Linda Middlebrooks, 206-919-9746. All proceeds go to Allied Arts projects.
In 2016, HistoryLink.org‘s biggest project was to document the history of the King County Library System. Currently they’ve added comprehensive feature histories and timeline essays on libraries in Algona-Pacific, Auburn, Bellevue, Black Diamond, Bothell, Boulevard Park, Burien, Carnation, Crossroads, Des Moines, Duvall, Enumclaw, Fairwood, Fall City, Issaquah, Kent, Kingsgate, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, Lake Hills, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Muckleshoot, Newcastle, Newport Way, Redmond, Redmond Ridge, Shoreline, Snoqualmie, and White Center. The rest of the KCLS library histories will be added in 2017.