“Found in Malcolm X Park” is an occasional feature on a piece of trash or other discarded item recovered from the park. This is a Watchtower Publications Index for the years 1930-1985. The Watchtower is the biweekly magazine of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The Watchtower, in its non-indexed form, is a fairly ubiquitous presence in the park, both in the hands of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and, as litter, discarded by its recipients and strewn across the park. It’s so common, in fact, that I’d never considered it for “Found in Malcolm X Park.” But discarding an index of 55 years of the publication takes it up another notch.
The Watchtower was first published by Charles Taze Russell in 1879, just one year after he had predicted the Rapture. Evidently, his non-rapturing engendered sufficient optimism to launch a magazine. Originally titled Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, its first issue projected a fairly liberal interpretation of how many ‘last days’ might be remaining: Enough for at least two volume of magazines:
This is the first number of the first volume of “ZION’S WATCH TOWER” and it may not be amiss to state the object of its publication.That we are living “in the last days” “the day of the Lord” — “the end” of the Gospel age, and consequently, in the dawn of the “new” age, are facts not only discernible by the close student of the Word, led by the spirit, but the outward signs recognizable by the world bear the same testimony, and we are desirous that the “household of faith” be fully awake to the fact, that—
We are living, we are dwelling
In a grand and awful time;
In an age on ages telling
To be living is sublime.
Until 1990, the Watchtower and another Jehovah’s Witness publication, Awake!, were sold rather than given away, but a Supreme Court decision in another case (against Jimmy Swaggart Ministries) which would have required the payment of sales tax led to the change.
Jehovah’s Witnesses worship in a facility called a Kingdom Hall. The nearest Kingdom Hall to Malcolm X Park is at 1320 S. 52nd St.
I took the photo above earlier this weekend, and though you would think I’d have learned my lesson from the “What is Islam” CD left in the same spot and featured in a previous Found, I left the index where it lay. Here’s a shot from this morning.
I should have checked to see whether the adjacent beer can was empty or full since that would arguably have been a dispositive clue to the sin-repelling or attracting properties of a Watchtower Index.