Sun
May 24 2020
10:42 am

Today is the 50th anniversary of Richard Nixon's visit to Knoxville with the Billy Graham Crusade and the ensuing protests and arrests. Michele (bizgrrl) and I were there, as was her father, Dr. K.R. Newton. He was one of the rabble rousers (we were just observers) along with his friend Dr. Charlie Reynolds, one of the main instigators (and father of Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds).

This 30th anniversary Metro Pulse article by Jack Neeley is the most comprehensive chronicle of the times and events you will find. Dr. Newton, Dr. Reynolds and others discuss their involvement and subsequent arrests. When Dr. Newton was arrested at his office (based on surveillance photo ID), one police officer said "You don't seem very upset." Dr. Newton answered, "I've never been arrested. I don't know how to act."

Michele was going through her late father's papers a few years ago, and found his contemporaneous account of the events. A couple of passages still ring true today...

"Those who seek to maintain 'control' through the use of 'law and order' have made statements indicating their concern for a communistic plot, sexual orgies, and 'pollution of the academic environment.' Those who disagree are accused of being unAmerican, disloyal to the University as well as dirty, unkempt, immoral, spoiled, lazy and are frequently told if you don't love it you should leave it. Yet those who claim to be defenders of the country and the University utilize tactics which can only destroy both the democratic process of the country and the educational endeavors of the University. Those who continue to believe that an education consists of textbooks and lectures can only be concerned with the building of things rather than the building of a people. The survival of our campus, of our country, and indeed of the world demands the building of a people and even, perhaps the devaluation of things."

...

"The students of the University of Tennessee have shown a mature restraint which should be rewarded rather than punished by the University administration and the city officials. They have shown a tremendous flexibility, desire for dialogue and patience to which most universities in this country have not been afforded during the past several years. Unfortunately the political climate of this community is such that even nonviolent dissent results in irrational repression. Unfortunately those who desire peace are considered criminals and those who desire war are considered saviors. Unfortunately those who desire change are considered dangerous and those who support the status quo are considered safe leaders. Unfortunately those who do not want to follow blindly their leaders to total destruction are considered irrational while those who follow unquestionably are considered sane. Unfortunately those who ask questions are considered uneducated while those [who] listen with an unquestioning superstitious belief are considered knowing and intelligent. Unfortunately those who obey unjust laws are considered Christian and American while those who oppose are considered evil, Communistic and undesirable. Unfortunately today Christians seem unable to carry out Christ's behavior and teachings while those who have difficulty with organized Christianity seem to behave in a Christ-like manner."

He concludes:

"In 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brody' she states that she is 'in the business of putting old heads on young shoulders' -- perhaps now we must be in the business of putting young heads on old shoulders."

Topics:
Treehouse's picture

Wise

I'm so glad the Mrs. kept the wisdom of her father but what the hell happened to Glenn Reynolds?!

Rachel's picture

Classic rebellion against

Classic rebellion against daddy.

bizgrrl's picture

That's what I've always

That's what I've always thought.

billshearn's picture

I was there too!

I took driver's ed from UT and we had a class on campus that week. We all went to the stadium afterwards but I don't remember much of Graham's sermon.

Wonderful words from Dr. Newton:

"those who desire peace are considered criminals and those who desire war are considered saviors"

Rachel's picture

Thanks for sharing this. I

Thanks for sharing this. I was there that day too - with my church group - and was appalled by the sound of all those good Christians booing at the handful of protestors. The first step in unmaking me a southern Baptist.
I knew Michele's dad was a professor. What department was he in?

bizgrrl's picture

Psychology.

Psychology.

Tess's picture

.

.

Lisa Starbuck's picture

Politics

My earliest political memory is the Nov. 1968 election. I was in the 2nd grade at Halls Elementary and we were all given Richard Nixon hats to wear. I wore mine home and my parents had a fit!

Midori Barstow's picture

Dr. Newton's message I take close to heart

Thank you Michele and Randy for posting
Dr. Newton's timeless message which will always ring in our hearts.

Unfortunately the political climate of this community is such that even nonviolent dissent results in irrational repression.

Unfortunately those who desire peace are considered criminals and those who desire war are considered saviors.

Unfortunately those who desire change are considered dangerous and those who support the status quo are considered safe leaders.

Unfortunately those who do not want to follow blindly their leaders to total destruction are considered irrational while those who follow unquestionably are considered sane.

Unfortunately those who ask questions are considered uneducated while those [who] listen with an unquestioning superstitious belief are considered knowing and intelligent.

Unfortunately those who obey unjust laws are considered Christian and American while those who oppose are considered evil, Communistic and undesirable.

Unfortunately today Christians seem unable to carry out Christ's behavior and teachings while those who have difficulty with organized Christianity seem to behave in a Christ-like manner."

He concludes:

"In 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brody' she states that she is 'in the business of putting old heads on young shoulders' -- perhaps now we must be in the business of putting young heads on old shoulders."

cwg's picture

:(

RIP Metro Pulse

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