50 Prophets March on Plaza

—And all is quiet

By Richard Foster and Christopher Chandler, The Chicago Sun-Times, Illinois

October 10, 1969, North America

Fifty persons marched on the Civic Center and other places in the Loup Thursday—peacefully, and somewhat mysteriously.

They wore red robes, pounded staffs on the sidewalk, passed out literature and prayed. Their spokesman talked about the death of America and quoted Jeremiah.

Some wore gold or silver earrings in their left ears. Others walked through the Loop with wooden yokes around their necks.

They came to Chicago, their spokesman said, because “God told us to follow the cloud—where the action is.”

At the Civic Center, they stood wordlessly for about 10 minutes, opened scrolls with biblical inscriptions and, one by one, knelt in prayer for another 10 minutes.

On one of the scrolls the words of the prophet Jeremiah were inscribed.

“O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes; make thee mourning, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation; for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us.”

Another scroll read, “He that abideth in this city shall die by the sword and by the famine and by the pestilence.”

Many of the 50 bore ash marks upon their foreheads.

The spokesman identified himself as Joshua. When asked his address, he replied, “Egypt, the old world.”

And his last name?

“Levy,” he replied.

By the end of their trek through the Loop, the prophets had attracted five disciples who silently joined the march. One of the converts, a young motorcyclist from Elmwood Park, explained:

“I’m just trying to understand.”

The prophets, followed by cars of suspicious policemen for most of their journey, departed east on Monroe St. into Grant Park, where they boarded buses for a destination as mysterious as their origin.