There aren't many traces left in the University District of the tumultuous early 1970s. Forty years have erased almost all of them. One exception is found on the northwest corner of W. 10th and Hunter, adjacent to 110 W. Tenth.
Sometime back in the very late 1960s or early 1970s, the city or a property owner poured a new sidewalk here. Before the concrete fully hardened, actual communists inscribed it with propaganda. By the time the damage was discovered, the concrete was hard and it was too late and too expensive to do anything about it.
The communists hoped that Joe and Jill Average Student from Middletown would innocently stumble onto this graffiti, have their minds liberated, and be transformed into flag-burning, AK-toting disciples of Ho Chi Minh.
Forty years have passed. The war ended. The US left Vietnam. Mao died and the Cultural Revolution ended. The Killing Fields of Cambodia erased whatever appeal the Maoist model held. The Cold War ended. The Soviet Union fell and took Marxism-Leninism with it. China embraced market reforms and became a global economic power. Vietnam itself embarked on the capitalist road. It now enjoys a booming economy and friendly relations with the United States. US stores are full of cheap Vietnamese manufactured goods while Vietnamese use Microsoft Windows, eat food grown in Iowa, use plastics from Texas, and watch Hollywood movies on DVD.
The Sixties radicalism that inspired this sidewalk graffiti seems quaint and a bit silly now, an odd fashion of a half-forgotten time, like beehive hairdos, Pop Art, or Day-Glo miniskirts.
As for the communists who inscribed the graffiti... They probably grew out of annoying their parents and forsook Marx sometime in the 1970s, became yuppie mall developers in the 1980s, and now live in a gated community in Phoenix, playing golf, hating their grandkids' hip-hop music, idolizing the "greatest generation" parents they once despised, watching Fox News, and worrying about their prostates.