|Estelle & Hershe on the road, summer 2005.|
We realized that, as a singularly important phenomenon in the history of feminist and anti-nuclear activism in the United States, the peace encampment story could not be left to a handful of “experts” or traditional history in which the contributions of women in general, and lesbians in particular, were distorted, diminished or nonexistent.
We realized as well, that just as WEFPJ’s consensus decision-making process valued every woman’s voice, it would take a village to tell the story of all that took place on that 52-acre farm in Seneca County, NY.
With a few names of original organizers, a borrowed camcorder, and invaluable advice from Act-up Oral Herstory Project founders Sarah Schulman and Jim Hubbard, Estelle and Hershe set off to record the project's first stories.
Within a year, they were joined by fellow peace campers Alice O’Malley and Laura Boswell Thornton and had met Judi Kelemen and Nancy Clover of the Women's Video Collective (WVC) - caretakers of more than 40 hours of footage and hundreds of photographs and slides of the encampment. In early 2008, documentary filmmakers Tia Lessin and Carl Deal generously donated their Brooklyn studio and equipment so that Estelle and Hershe could digitize the WVC collection.
|Estelle, Nancy & Judi looking over a Women's Video Collective scrapbook, winter 2015.|
About this time, Estelle, Hershe and Judi met with curators at the Schlesinger Library for the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard and determined that once digitized, the entire PeHP collection would be added to the WEFPJ archive housed there.
By now, peace campers Kim aka Samoa, Sita, and Billijo, and young herstory-minded feminist, Sera Brown, were working to varying degrees with the project, and in five years, 12 states and 32 cities, the project had 112 interviews.
With a resourcefulness honed at the peace camp, the PeHP effort has been thrifty - the thousands of hours of labor are unpaid, equipment is borrowed or donated, skills sets are self-taught and the web platform is free. With the exception of two grants totaling $3500, $1000 in in-kind donations, and $750 in individual donations, the project has been funded out of the pockets of women living below the poverty line.
|Selfie! Andrea, Estelle, Hershe, Dorothy & Alice (via iPad) meet in early March, 2015 to discuss Mother's Day events.|
If you've got a peace camp story to tell or artifacts for the digital/traditional archives, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together we’re making herstory!