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William L. Calley

Artist
Fred Burrell, active c. 1969 -
Sitter
William Laws Calley, Jr., born 8 Jun 1943
Date
1969
Type
Photograph
Medium
Photomechanical prints on transparent film and colored translucent paper
Dimensions
Sight: 21 x 16.5cm (8 1/4 x 6 1/2")
Mat: 55.9 x 40.6cm (22 x 16")
Frame: 48.3 x 38.1 x 4.4cm (19 x 15 x 1 3/4")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine
Restrictions & Rights
© Fred Burrell
Object number
NPG.78.TC273
Exhibition Label
My Lai is a hamlet in Vietnam and its name disturbs Americans to this day. On March 16, 1968, Lieutenant William Calley led a company of U. S. troops in a massacre of civilians numbering some 500 men, women, and children. Although Calley was court-martialed and convicted a year later of twenty counts of murder, his case became a cause célèbre and his guilt was disputed as Americans argued about whether his action was criminally atypical or part of the military’s tolerance of terror against Vietnamese civilians.
On this Time magazine cover, Calley is shown wearing an opaque mask that seems to represent the lack of transparency and divisiveness during the Vietnam War. Calley, viewed by many as a scapegoat, was sentenced to life in prison; but his sentence was later reduced to ten years, and President Richard Nixon pardoned him in 1974.
My Lai es una aldea de Vietnam y su nombre aún perturba a los estadounidenses. El 16 de marzo de 1968, el teniente William Calley dirigió a una compañía de soldados norteamericanos en la masacre de unos 500 civiles, incluidos hombres, mujeres y niños. Aunque Calley fue juzgado en consejo de guerra y un año después convicto de veinte delitos de asesinato, su culpabilidad fue motivo de amplia controversia entre la ciudadanía, que debatía si su conducta era un acto criminal atípico o parte de la violencia tolerada por el ejército contra los civiles vietnamitas.
Esta portada de Time muestra a Calley bajo una especie de máscara opaca que parece representar la falta de transparencia y el divisionismo durante la guerra de Vietnam. Considerado por muchos como un chivo expiatorio, Calley fue sentenciado a prisión perpetua; luego la sentencia se redujo a diez años y en 1974 recibió el indulto presidencial de Richard Nixon.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection