Friday, December 10, 2010

The Johns, Lennon and Sinclair

The 30th anniversary of John Lennon's death was Wednesday, which launched the news outlets into a flurry of tributes. Who are we to buck the trend? When we talk about Ann Arbor, though, it's hard to bring up one John with triggering reference to another.

In 1969, John Sinclair--a poet, political activist and U of M-Flint grad--was sentenced to 10 years in jail for trying to sell two joints to an undercover cop, the final straw, it seems, in a long line of possession convictions. Lennon's most famous (and maybe only?) trip to Ann Arbor was for his performance at the John Sinclair Freedom Rally at Crisler Arena on December 10, 1971.

Three days after the rally, the state Supreme Court ruled Michigan's marijuana laws unconstitutional, and Sinclair was released. The rally also set into motion a series of events that resulted in Hash Bash and the lessening of punishments for marijuana possession in the city of Ann Arbor.

Here is Lennon at the John Sinclair Freedom Rally.

Were any of our readers at this rally?

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