Photo Gallery: Earth Day across America

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On April 22, 1970, more than 20 million Americans gathered on college campuses and in city squares to celebrate the first Earth Day. Some came to spread the word, others came to learn, but all were a part of the largest organized demonstration in American history. See these snapshots of events around the country.

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From a small Washington, D.C. office, Environment Teach-In, Inc. organized the first Earth Day as a coordinated teach-in involving several schools across the U.S.

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Denis Hayes (seated) ran the small activist group co-founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson. The teach-in was designed to educate Americans about growing problems with environmental pollution and overpopulation.

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More than 20,000 people gathered in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia to observe the first Earth Day in 1970. A growing awareness of the effect of DDT and other potentially harmful pesticides is reflected in the child’s t-shirt, reading “Let me grow up!”

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In Philadelphia, 7,000 people crowded Independence Mall to celebrate Earth Day.

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New York City Mayor John Lindsay closed 5th Avenue for what would be the largest Earth Day gathering in the country.

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Students at Tulane University in New Orleans branded the oil industry as “polluter of the month,” spraying a white-clad demonstrator with oil from squirt guns.

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In New York City, children from the Sacred Heart School swept clean Union Square. Several elementary, middle and high schools participated in Earth Day activities.

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Marchers in Chicago wore gas masks and accompanied a “garbage eater” dragon on the way to the Civic Center Plaza.

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In Milwaukee, citizens paddled on the Milwaukee River to protest its pollution before spending the rest of the evening listening to rock music at the Performing Arts Center.

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At Pace College in New York, a student protesting air pollution in City Hall Park “smelled” a magnolia blossom through a gas mask.

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At Logan Airport in Boston, demonstrators surrounded wooden “coffins” filled with people mock-killed by biocide. The airport was planning an expansion to allow for larger jet planes. 15 of the protesters were arrested for blocking the airport lobby.

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Wearing a face mask, student Dinah Campi protested air pollution in Miami.

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