May Day, 1970

May 1st, 1970 was an historic day in the city of New Haven, Connecticut. Following the 1969 arrest of nine Black Panther members, including leader Bobby Seale, for the murder of Alex Rackley, a large protest rally was planned for May 1st, May Day, 1970 at Yale and on the New Haven Green.

Despite fears of violent clashes, as had occurred in cities and college campuses in recent months, the May Day rally in New Haven was largely peaceful. 

Deborah Meyers Coccoli was a student at Southern Connecticut State College at the time. She attended the rally and photographed the events of the day. In 2021, Coccoli generously donated her collection photographs and negatives to the New Haven Museum, thus allowing audiences now and in the future the opportunity to see New Haven on that momentous day in 1970.

View the full collection through the New Haven Museum online catalog.

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