I don’t know when it was, at all, though it was in the late 1970s or early 1980s. I was in an airport, probably on my way to Charlotte, NC, or San Diego, CA, but it was neither of those cities’ airports or in Albany.
I was reading the New York Times, maybe the Sunday paper. The cover story was about a guy named Mark Lane about to be indicted for something or other. Then who should I see but Mark Lane?
I knew who he was, mostly from his contrarian views on the John F. Kennedy assassination.mHe believed the CIA was involved in the murder, producing a thesis casting doubt on the lone-assassin theory – “and even whether Oswald had actually been involved in the crime.” When the Warren Report summaries came out in the local newspaper, I cut them out and pasted them in a three-ring binder – I may STILL Have this – so I was a JFK assassination junkie.
Mark Lane was also involved in civil rights activism. I recognized him right away, and I’m not sure I needed the picture in the paper. Somehow we got to talking.
One of the things we discussed was how I tried to talk to my parents, especially my father, NOT to vote for Dick Gregory for President, who had Lane as his VP running mate, in 1968. My father was keen on voting for a black man, the comedian-activist Gregory. I insisted that Richard Nixon, the Republican candidate, was too dangerous and that they should vote for Hubert Humphrey, the Democrat, instead of throwing away his vote. For sure, I STILL have the button pictured.
(How my folks actually voted, I’ll never know, of course. I’ve “thrown away” my vote once or twice subsequent to that year when I was not yet eligible to cast a ballot. That topic is extremely hot in 2016.)
Mark Lane was very generous in hearing about my politicking against him. I’m sure we at least mentioned JFK, but not his then-current legal troubles. Nor did we talk about his peripheral involvement in the Jonestown massacre, since I was unaware of it until much later.
Mark Lane died on May 11 at the age of 89. I was going to write about him, then it slipped my mind, but Shooting Parrots reminded me.