1999: WTO, History as It Happens -- A Video by Josh McNichols and Jerome Montalto.

  • Posted 11/05/2009
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 9203
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This video by Josh McNichols and Jerome Montalto details HistoryLink.org's unexpected role in the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle, protests that were dubbed the "Battle of Seattle." 

The World Trade Organization (WTO) held its Third Ministerial Conference in Seattle from November 30 to December 3, 1999. Tens of thousands of protesters greeted the conference, believing that the WTO's work to lower trade barriers for large corporations countered environmental, small-farm, labor, and human-rights concerns. The protests were largely peaceful, but the Battle in Seattle included Dumpster fires, tear gas, many arrests, and epic stand-offs between protesters and police. The WTO week was a momentous event not only for Seattle but for HistoryLink.org, the online encyclopedia of Seattle and King County history (now Washington state history). HistoryLink's office in the Joshua Green Building (1425 4th Avenue) looked down on Westlake Center. It was then-Deputy Director Heather MacIntosh's idea to train a webcam on Westlake Park in case anything interesting should happen. HistoryLink.org's webcam became the world's window to the Battle in Seattle. That week, Executive Director Walt Crowley (1947-2007) talked virtually non-stop to reporters from around the world. This video presented by Joshua McNichols and Jerome Montalto portrays the event and presents reflections from HistoryLink historian Alan J. Stein, Executive Director Marie McCaffrey, and site administrator at the time, Chris Goodman. All found themselves reporting on history as it unfolded on the streets below.

Produced by Joshua McNichols and Jerome Montalto for Historylink.org.

Historylink staff portraiture and video production by Jerome Montalto.
Historylink staff interviews and audio production by Joshua McNichols.

WTO protest footage and audio from the film "30 frames a second" courtesy of Rustin Thompson and White Noise Productions - All rights reserved.

B&W photos from 1960s and 1970s Seattle copyright Alan Lande - 1969/70/71 - All rights reserved.

WTO Protest Photos:
Thanks to the following Flickr users for permission to use their work:

Matt Hagen, matthagen.com
Audrey Eschright, lifeofaudrey.com
Kathleen Whalen, bradandkathy.com
Isabel Esterman, isabelesterman.net (creative commons license)
Stephen Kaiser, djbones.com (creative commons license)

This is a Historylink.org production.

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