the NYCmarch2DC: an odyssey chronicled

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Nov 12: outside of Princeton someone stops their car to offer food to the marchers on their way to D.C.


The march from Occupy Wall Street in New York has now arrived in D.C. I expect we will be hearing more from them, although the holiday no one can escape in this country may be responsible for a small delay.

Several days ago NYCmarch2DC posted this long account covering five days of their march from Liberty Park in New York to McPherson Square in Washington D.C. The text had been, as they wrote, "composed by multiple marchers and so contains distinctly different writing styles", but it isn't the different styles which the reader will notice; it's the immediacy and intensity of the different emotional notes struck - from very high to very low - in this very candid narrative of their experiences as they marched between Trenton, New Jersey and Havre de Grace, Maryland.

I should point out that the section of the journal I'm talking about includes the moment in Philadelphia when they learned that the police had destroyed the encampment in Liberty Park. I remember reading earlier, on November 17, this tweet from @NYCmarch2DC: "The majority of us from #OWS are refugees. You can see it in our eyes. We are sad, grieving and hurt. We lost our homes while we were away."

When I first clicked onto the NYCmarch2DC site for what would have been the latest account of the march it was very late at night, and as I started I wasn't sure I wanted to read very far; soon I was pretty sure I'd be going through to the end, but not so sure I wanted to share it with anyone else (it was not entirely an upbeat story); finally, and now sitting on the edge of my seat, I decided that I absolutely had to show it to anyone whom I might persuade to read it. It's that good, and that powerful.

It's like Occupy Wall Street itself.

The strength of its simple odyssean prose, generated by some not-so-ordinary people who represent just one modest segment of the one of the most remarkable movements in modern history, will survive both as a document of a great moment and an inspiration for many more.


UPDATE 11/24/11: NYCmarch2DC, continuing the account of the march all the way to its conclusion, has just uploaded this entry, covering the march from Havre de Gras to D.C.



A footnote: I was educated as an historian in the old century, and I've worried for many years about how that profession was going to cope with our modern distaste for letter writing. I don't worry about it any more; we have the internet.


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[image by Stephanie Keith from Flickr]