“Seven times they raised me off the concrete and threw me down on it. They pinned my arms and shot short jabs to my face. I was punched and dragged by my feet to the stairway. I grabbed the railing and they wrenched me loose. I was thrown down the first flight of iron steps. Then they kicked me down the other flight of steps until I found myself on the ground where I was beaten and kicked.”—Walter Reuther describing to an NLRB hearing his encounter with Ford goons during the “battle of the overpass” near River Rouge, May 1937; quoted from Toil and Trouble, by Thomas R. Brooks.
The incredible week in May 1970 that opened with the murder of four students at Kent State and closed with the death of Walter Reuther, his wife and four companions, in a plane crash on the night of May 9, will be with us for a long time. We have already witnessed some of the repercussions to the National Guards’ cowardly lunacy in Ohio. Mourning the deaths of the students—followed by others in Augusta and Jackson—we can sense how much these horrible events have shaken the country, and how much more it needs to be shaken.
Mourning Reuther, we can hardly attempt to assess the impact of the...
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