There is no apparent start date for the “legal marshals” at the University of Virginia School of Law, although alum Edward Hogshire recalls law students deemed them necessary following the first takeover of the Naval ROTC building on the evening of May 4th. Legal marshals were law students who attended demonstrations to ensure that the rights of protesters were maintained. They were student leaders, Vietnam War veterans, or members of the Charlottesville Legal Aid Society. To denote their status, they wore bright green or white armbands, some writing “LEGAL AID” across the band, and others writing “MARSHAL,” “MARSHALL,” or just “M.” They believed that with their legal background in Constitutional law, especially 3rd Year Law legal marshals, they could prevent violence between protesters and police and ensure that the freedom of speech was upheld by all parties.
Throughout the events of May 1970, other marshal groups formed that were more fluid. Undergraduate and graduate students from the College of Arts & Sciences took up the title of “strike marshal” following the Student Council meeting on May 5th. Women visiting from other colleges and non-students wore the marshal armband at some events but not at others.
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