WASHINGTON — When unrest broke out on the streets of D.C. in the wake of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., WTOP reporter Dave McConnell was put on “riot duty.”
WTOP’s long-time Capitol Hill correspondent, McConnell recalled watching busloads of National Guard members roll into town and the night sky being lit up by fires.
“I thought, ‘My God, this is my city. This is where I had lived so much of my life. And it’s going up in flames,'” he said.
Some of the experiences he recalled are frightening.
“But the adrenaline is pumping,” he said. “It’s a story; you’ve got to cover it. And you’ve got to get the job done.”
Listen to McConnell’s full interview on WTOP below:
McConnell shared more memories in depth with WTOP anchor Mark Lewis on a Facebook Live segment. Watch the clip below:
In April 1968, Federal News Radio’s senior correspondent, Mike Causey, was working at The Washington Post. As a general assignment reporter, he said, one day you’d be covering a rare book exhibit at the Library of Congress and the next a dangerous hostage situation. Fifty years after the riots, Causey said it’s sometimes the little details that stick out sharpest in his memory.
Causey shared more memories in a video chat with WTOP digital writer/editor Jack Moore. Watch the clip below:
Causey’s Federal News Radio colleague also shared his 1968 reminiscences in a Federal News Radio commentary.
More from the series, “DC Uprising: Voices from the 1968 Riots.”
- ‘Everything was on fire’ — remembering the DC riots 50 years later
- DC Uprising: An oral history of the 1968 riots
- Under fire: Retired police, firefighters remember 1968 flashpoints
- ‘The mayor saw it with his own eyes’ — a reporter chronicles 1968 chaos
- After the riots, an activist on trial
- How Ben’s Chili Bowl survived the 1968 riots to become a DC landmark (VIDEO)
- Shattered lives, unanswered questions 50 years after the riots
- Small DC church survived the riots. But then came the wrecking ball. Finally, a rebirth
- Then & Now: Powerful images show 1968 riot damage and rebuilt DC neighborhoods