Sunday, November 04, 2007

HeRSToRy 056 Karen Edelstein

   Karen was a college student at Cornell University in nearby Ithaca when the peace camp began. She visited the camp with friends and in subsequent visits, participated in civil disobedience actions - among them, the Ithaca Affinity Group mask action and the mass October action where she was arrested.

Herstory: Karen Edelstein
Date: April 5, 2008
Location: Ithaca, NY
Present: Estelle Coleman, hershe Michele Kramer, Laura Boswell Thornton

CLIP 1: It got a little bit dicey that day

CLIP 2: Faded witness to the times


Karen's photos and description of her Ithaca Affinity Group's mask action:

Masks at dawn

"I participated in several protests at the Army Depot during the summer of 1983, and [am] pleased to share my 20 or so photos of a really beautiful action created by a group of a few dozen women from Ithaca, in what I think was early August. Some people had scoped out an entry that was less well patrolled, and in the very early morning, just after dawn, we drove in. With equal numbers of women who stayed on the civilian side of the fence for support, a group shimmied one at a time over the barbed wire, using scraps of rug for protection. For nearly 20 minutes, we sang, hung plaster of paris masks on the fence, planted a tree and seeds for peace, and in general had a good time waiting for the MPs to show up, which they eventually did. We remained in a circle, half of us inside, half outside the fence, holding hands through the chain link. One at a time, the women inside the fence were handcuffed, and led off by the MPs to camouflaged school bus that had also eventually arrived. Later in the day, we returned to the main gate where a larger CD action was in progress, and much later that evening, were reunited with our friends."

Scaling the Depot fence

MPs arrive

JEB aka Joan E. Biren photographing the group

JEB photographing the group

Singing in handcuffs

More handcuffs/singing

Amy prepares to go to the bus

Adjusting Amy's handcuffs

Singing while MPs remove masks

More mask removal


Everyone prepares to go to the bus

Jeannie C. led to the bus

Amy is questioned before boarding the bus

Laughing in handcuffs

Razor wire prep for protest at the Depot

Larger protest at the Truck Gate

Inspiring Phoenix

Church and state

And a photo 20 years later... People First graffiti on a railroad overpass on Rt. 96 still visible. "People First" was a response to the Depot's motto, "Mission First, People Always."


  1. Thank you for documenting this segment of our local and national history! Thank you for standing up for what was, and *is*, right! :)

  2. Karen, it's Jeannie C. Anne S sent this to me. Thanks for calling up a great, empowering memory--and reminding me that I got arrested wearing purple pants!