I Know Dick Gregory, But Who Is Mark Lane? : It's All Politics A look at Mark Lane, the author/activist who found himself on the Freedom and Peace Party line in 1968 as the candidate for vice president.

I Know Dick Gregory, But Who Is Mark Lane?


Here's a question from Nancy Hoffman of Worcester, Mass.:

I thought of you today [March 14] when I read a profile about Dick Gregory in the New York Times. They had this wonderful replica of a dollar bill with Gregory's picture on it, a memento from his campaign for president in 1968. On the fake bill, it had one signature that read "Dick Gregory President," and another that read "Mark Lane Vice President." Who is/was Mark Lane?

Dick Gregory, the activist/comedian, made a half-serious bid for president in '68 as the candidate of the Freedom and Party -- not to be confused with the Peace and Freedom Party, which ran another black activist, Eldridge Cleaver, for president that year. On the ballot in eight states, Gregory received 47,133 votes.

When he was picked to run for VP, Mark Lane was (and is -- he's still alive) a white left-wing activist best known for his books dismissing the conclusion of the Warren Commission that a lone gunman assassinated President John Kennedy. Lane served one term in the New York state Legislature, where he worked to end the death penalty. He often demonstrated against segregation in the South and was arrested once, in 1961. He ran for Congress in 1962 from Manhattan but lost the Democratic primary. He also, at various times, represented Marguerita Oswald (the alleged assassin's mother) and the Peoples Temple of cult leader Jim Jones in Guyana, even in the wake of the 1978 murder of Rep. Leo Ryan (D-CA) and subsequent mass murder/suicide in Jonestown. Throughout the 1960s and '70s, he was a leading opponent of the war in Vietnam.