Below we profile the eleven individuals who have contributed interviews to our May Days Oral History Project to date. Every marshal had a particular role to play, with some answering phones, others posted atop a local hotel, and many still working to keep protesters away from police. Those who were not marshals, such as Law professor H. Lane Kneedler and Charlottesville Daily Progress photographer Jim Carpenter, provide their perspectives on the marshal efforts and the May Days events.
The profiles supplement each interview with text, audio snippets, and images. Profiles are written in a conversational style to better reflect the interview itself.
The UVA Law Library is committed to exploring and sharing the experiences of its alumni/ae, of whom the legal marshals represent just one perspective.
We traveled to Boynton Beach, Florida on February 19, 2020, to speak with former legal marshal Dan Sullivan. In his interview, Sullivan discusses his role as one of the founding members of the legal marshals. His vivid memories of key events and his arrest provide a first-hand look into the May Days protests. As Sullivan explains, the protests and police response served as a political awakening for him and many others.
On May 7, 2020, we spoke with local photographer and former owner of Gitchell’s Studio—Jim Carpenter. In 1970, Carpenter was working for the Daily Progress where he covered various events including the May Days protests. Carpenter offers a unique perspective as an outsider and as someone assigned to chronicle the event.
On March 19, 2020, former legal marshals and long-time friends Edwin Finch and Frank McDermott phoned in to the oral history team via Zoom to reminisce about their time at UVA Law fifty years ago. In this interview, Finch and McDermott exchange memories and laughs as they remember nights spent together writing papers and then—when student demonstrations hit UVA—surveying Grounds from the roof of the Downtowner Motor Inn as legal marshals. Finch recalls attending a handful of May Days events and and his political transformation as a result.
On February 28, 2019, Edward “Ted” Hogshire sat down with us at the law school for our project’s first May Days oral history interview. Hogshire remembers the marshal program as a law student initiative to protect First Amendment rights. Hogshire took up the role of communicator for the legal marshals, working both as a marshal dispatcher from Clark Hall and brokering meetings with student leaders and members of the administration. He was shocked to see police storm the crowds by the Rotunda on May 9th.
On March 20, 2020, we connected with Lane Kneedler via Zoom to talk about his unique perspective on the 1970 student demonstrations at UVA as a recent Law graduate and as Assistant Dean for the law school. Following the events in May, Dean Monrad Paulsen tasked Kneedler with interviewing the students and administrators involved to determine if any disciplinary action by President Edgar Shannon needed to be taken. The “Kneedler Investigation” now resides in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library and was a crucial resource for this exhibition.
On March 4, 2020, we met with David Levy in his law office in Fairfax, Virginia. As a legal marshal, Levy’s role was different than most. In this interview, Levy explains how he manned the phone and distributed information to his fellow marshals and other students during May Days. He also discusses how his time as a marshal was driven by his experience with the Legal Aid Society.
On February 21, 2020, we met with Gerald MacFarlane at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia. MacFarlane was a legal marshal and the first arrested on the Lawn the evening of May 8th. MacFarlane offers vivid descriptions about that night and explains how he felt at various moments both during and after his detainment.
On June 9, 2020, we spoke with UVA Law graduate and former legal marshal, Neil McBride over Zoom regarding his May Days arrest on May 9, 1970. In his interview, McBride provides political and social context for the strike from his perspective as a member of the Law community. McBride also shares vivid recollections of his arrest and the atmosphere inside the Mayflower van.
On March 19, 2020, former legal marshals and long-time friends Frank McDermott and Ed Finch phoned in to the oral history team via Zoom to reminisce about their time at UVA Law fifty years ago. In this interview, McDermott and Finch exchange memories and laughs as they remember nights spent together writing papers and then—when student demonstrations hit UVA—surveying Grounds from the roof of the Downtowner Motor Inn as legal marshals. McDermott specifically remembers the police presence during those days and permanent effect the Vietnam War had on his generation.
On February 5, 2020, we sat down with Bob Olson and his wife Carol Duane Olson '71 in the Pitkin County Library in Aspen, Colorado, to discuss his experience as a legal marshal and member of the Virginia Law Review. In this interview, Olson describes being arrested in front of the Rotunda and carted off to the local police department in a Mayflower moving van. As Olson explains, his arrest charges carried unique implications for him as he transitioned into his career in the summer of 1970.
On February 10, 2020, we met with Charles Vasaly at his home in Arlington, Virginia. As a legal marshal and member of the Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, Vasaly’s role in May Days was unique. While he, like others, attended several key events, Vasaly’s significant contribution came after protests when students delivered UVA President Edgar Shannon’s anti-war letter to DC on May 11, 1970. In his interview, Vasaly describes his perspective of the war, campus protests, and life at UVA Law.