American Experience
Firsthand Accounts Firsthand Accounts
Jean Ponder AllenKeith HackettMike AriasDiane Sikorski KramerJane BrotmanJim RowenJack CipperlyPaul SoglinJoe CostelloClark Welch
BeforeOctober 1967AftermathReflections

Keith Hackett (1:31) video | transcript

When the window went out everything, everything turned loose. They turned loose, we turned loose and it was a matter of who's going to win. It was literally a fight for your life. You fought, if you went down, you got stomped and if you went down under that crowd, there were guys that went down and literally got stomped. They were stomping on you, they were hitting you with whatever they had, whatever they could and their intention [was] to hurt you as bad as they possibly could and so the object, also by us, was don't go down -- no matter what you do -- don't go down.

So as we accumulated some room where we could start getting together, we kind of formed our line and made it across the hallway and we would set up basically -- and it wasn't something planned, it was just something that we developed on our own -- that the first line goes up and you either grab somebody, you hit somebody, you knock them down, and you step over them. The line behind you picks that guy up, throws him back to the line behind who takes him and throws him out the doors that we just came in and that's the way we progressed down the hall and if you didn't move you got knocked down, you got hit, you got stomped, you got walked over and that's the way we cleared the building and as I remember during the whole entire fight I think it took us like 20 minutes. It seemed like a long time but it was about 20 minutes.

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Two Days in October American Experience PBS