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Archive for Thursday, May 7, 1998

EXHIBIT BRINGS BACK THE PEACE, LOVE AND POLITICS OF THE 1970S

May 7, 1998

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The display's subjects range from the Black Panthers to Mr. Natural.

Walk down Massachusetts Street and you're likely to see some bell-bottoms and tie-dyed T-shirts. But if you're needing a real `60s fix, then check out the display cases in the Kansas Collection division of Kenneth Spencer Research Library on the Kansas University campus.

Love beads, posters, radical literature and bumper stickers fill five floor cases and one wall case, making up the ``Images of the Sixties: posters, newspaper, ephemera'' exhibit.

``I had the idea for a long time,'' Becky Schulte, assistant curator of the Kansas Collection, said. ``The idea originated with the posters. We have 200 in our collection. We will probably rotate the posters on a monthly basis, so people can stop back in at a later time to view others.''

The 1960s, Schulte said, compares with the times of the Great Depression and World War II in that people vividly remember events and where they were when they occurred. For example, nearly everyone can cite where they were or what they were doing when they learned President Kennedy had been assassinated in November 1963. Or they can remember watching Neil Armstrong step onto the moon's surface in July 1969.

Schulte said putting the exhibit together was fun because colleagues would walk by, notice what she was doing and start telling stories about their experiences.

Selecting what eventually ended up in the exhibit was difficult. Items came from the Kansas Collection as well as the Wilcox Collection of Contemporary Political Movements at the Spencer library.

``I aimed for the visual images as well as events and images of those events,'' she said. ``I also aimed for feelings.''

Among the items on display are several cutouts of Mr. Natural, a character created by cartoonist R. Crumb; a Grateful Dead concert poster; bumper stickers from the Barry Goldwater and Lyndon B. Johnson presidential campaigns; a satirical poster promoting visits to Vietnam via Far-Fareastern Airway; a now famous poster of a woman with a birth control pill on her tongue; an original screen-printed poster for the movie ``Easy Rider''; ``The President's Assassin Speaks,'' an album of a debate between Lee Harvey Oswald and Cuban freedom fighter Carlos Bringuier that was broadcast three months before Kennedy's assassination; an advertisement for the Woodstock Music and Art Fair that appeared in the Aug. 21, 1969, issue of Kaleidoscope; a paper published in Milwaukee, Wis.; and a Malcolm X poster.

The exhibit also includes literature about the Students for a Democratic Society; information about Robert F. Kennedy's visit to KU and Haskell Indian Nations University; a copy of the Black Panther's weekly newspaper; and ``Ground and Riot Control,'' a manual by Col. Rex Applegate on how to control ``a race riot,'' which was a revision of his ``Kill or Get Killed'' manual.

Schulte said there were a number of items she wanted to use for the exhibit but couldn't because they occurred in the early `70s.

``You work on one exhibit and find things for others with a different focus,'' she said. ``We're coming to the end of the millennium, maybe I'll do one on the `70s next.''

-- Jan Biles' phone message number is 832-7146. Her e-mail address is jbiles@ljworld.com.

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