Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bob Sheldon's Legacy

My friend Bob Sheldon was killed during the first weeks of the Persian Gulf War on this date, February 21, 1991, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA. 

He had been visible and vocal, providing rare dissent to the Gulf War on TV; he'd also protested against the U.S.-Vietnam War.  More people showed the same spirit before and during the Iraq, or Second Persian Gulf War, just as there are those now attuned to the possibility of a Third Gulf War, perhaps triggered by Israel-Iran folly or miscalculation.  

I first met Bob when he was working at the University of North Carolina as a sort of medic-nurse in 1981 -- he treated me, a callow undergraduate, for a nasty case of poison ivy, bandaging my arms like a burn victim. I was reading an article about the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and he struck up a conversation. He was impressive and no-nonsense.

Not long afterwards I checked out his new bookstore on Henderson Street, and when he set up shop at 408 West Rosemary Street not far from where I worked at Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill a couple of years later, I began working at Internationalist Books, too. We had a lot of pithy conversations over the years, and he was one of the few people I knew to provide moral support for a sit-in protesting American involvement with the Contras in the time of Reagan, in the mid-1980s.

Internationalist Books and Community Center lives on at a third location, right on Franklin Street (405 West Franklin): http://www.internationalistbooks.org/

Much more to write about Bob Sheldon and Internationalist Books and the sit-in, but today is his remembrance day, and in Chapel Hill, it's Bob Sheldon Day. This one goes out to Donna Sheldon, Bob's sister, and the rest of the family.

Today's Rune: Protection.


Adorably Dead said...

He sounds like an interesting fellow, can't wait to hear more about your friend. As belated as it may be, I'm sorry for your loss.

the walking man said...

Without men and women like him the world would not only be fully enslaved but in love with that enslavement. here's to Ya Bob. One stranger to another passing in the night.

Charles Gramlich said...

A wonderful tribute. I'm sorry we lost such a one.

jodi said...

Erik, sounds like you had found a kindered spirit in Bob. It's a pity you didn't have more time. RIP Bob.

Anonymous said...

The real outrage was the lack of real outrage over his murder. The way it happened, surely some calculating, sinister 'forces' were involved.