An art exhibit at a Charlotte museum is connecting the convention experience of one North Carolina attorney with his father’s memorable Democratic National Convention experience 44 years ago.
Duane Hall Sr. was a photographer for the Chicago Sun-Times during the 1968 DNC, the scene of infamously violent clashes between Chicago police and anti-war protestors. During the current DNC, his work, along with that of other photographers, is being displayed at The Light Factory, Charlotte’s museum of photography and film, as part of its “Out in the Streets” exhibit examining photojournalism from the Chicago convention.
The timing is fortuitous, as Hall’s son, Duane Hall II, is in Charlotte as the Democratic candidate for a state House of Representatives seat in Wake County. The younger Hall, a real estate attorney, is in an enviable position—as the only candidate in the race, he is guaranteed to win a seat in next year’s legislature.
Duane II allowed me to join him as he got his first look at the exhibit honoring his father’s work and explained the stories behind some of the photos.
“I think that’s one of the ones he took while he was up a lamppost,” Hall said as he pointed at a photo depicting a melee between police and protestors. Most of the photos at the exhibit were from the convention’s most chaotic night of rioting, and the elder Hall occasionally got caught in the violent response from police. Duane II said that the lamppost perch got his father out of the reach of the batons.
The explanatory note alongside another photo said that the elder Hall had used a “shoot and run” technique to capture the feeling of being amidst the bedlam.
“He had to do that because he kept getting beat up,” the younger Hall said. “I guess it pays to shoot fast when you’re getting a beatdown.”
The contrast between the 1968 and 2012 conventions could hardly have been more pronounced. In Charlotte so far, the most tense standoff between police and protestors ended with police allowing about 100 people to continue an unscheduled march into downtown Charlotte.
Duane II was at the 1968 convention with his parents—but since he was only one year old at the time, he doesn’t remember any of it. This is the first convention he’s attended as a candidate for office. He had to hurry along to make it to the convention arena on time, but said the exhibit was “amazing,” and that he hoped to have time to come back for a second look.
Duane Sr. now lives in Chatham County, but is currently traveling and hasn’t had a chance to see the exhibit yet, Duane II said.
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The Democratic National Convention in Charlotte obviously is a political event, but legal issues underlie almost everything related to it – from the lawyers who craft the platform inside the Time Warner Arena, for instance, to those who defend the protesters outside. Follow us as we chronicle the legal aspects of Charlotte’s star turn on the national political stage. Full coverage.