Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Interview: Barbara Deming

    Barbara Deming (July 23, 1917-August 2, 1984) is one of the most significant nonviolent theorists in U.S. history. Her writings and activism chronicle the civil rights movement, the Vietnam anti-war movement, the women's movement and the gay and lesbian rights movement. She published many books, including Prison Notes (1966) and Remembering Who We Are (1981). Prisons That Could Not Hold (1995) contains the essay she wrote about Seneca the summer of 1983 and the incident in Waterloo. It also includes a chronology of events by Blue Lunden and photographs by Dorothy Marder, Catherine Allport, Catherine DeMaria, Ellen Shub & Joan E. Biren, shown below.

Barbara being interviewed Aug. 6, 1983, at the Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice several days after being released from the Interlaken school jail.

Barbara raises her flag/bouquet of wildflowers. Photo by Dorothy Marder, 1983.
Above: As she is being arrested, Barbara blows a kiss to a tearful Jun Song. Photo by Catherine Allport, 1983. Below: Barbara is handcuffed. Photo by Catherine DeMaria, 1983.
Above: The Jane Does testify during the arraignment at the Seneca County Fairgrounds. Below: The group waits in the courtroom for the decision. Photos by Joan E. Biren (JEB), 1983.
Above: Grace Paley (center) and other women at the school/jail in Interlaken, NY, circle in support of the fifty-four arrested women. Below: Jane Gaupin (left) talks with townspeople at the jail. Photos by Joan E. Biren (JEB), 1983.
Above: Back at the encampment, Barbara holds the flagpole point. Below: One of the all-women circles at the peace camp in front of the barn. Photos by Joan E. Biren (JEB), 1983.
1983 Chronology of Waterloo 54

JULY 25: Barbara arrived with Rhea at Northwoods in upstate New York. They joined Blue and Quinn on the 21st day of their walk from New York City to Seneca.

JULY 26: Barbara walked from Trumansburg to Ovid Center, N.Y. with Blue, Quinn, Rhea, and Donna.

JULY 28: Walk was joined by Jun Song, Terri, Lisa, and Kitrinka. The entire group reached the Encampment that afternoon.

JULY 29: We spent most of the day at camp and joined Jun Song for part of her daily walk around the Army depot.

JULY 30: We joined with 75 other women in New York City Women’s Pentagon Action’s Feminist Walk, from Seneca Falls to the Encampment. In the town of Waterloo, a mob blocked our way at the bridge. We sat to diffuse potential violence and to insist on our constitutional right to pass. Fifty-four were arrested and taken to the local jail.

JULY 31: We were transported at 5 a.m. from jail to the Interlaken Junior High School and were held in the cafeteria for five days, as we refused to give our names or cooperate in any way with this illegal arrest. Women from the Encampment began vigiling outside the school and were harassed by local townspeople. The governor declared a “state of emergency” and state police were brought in.

AUGUST 3: We were taken to the Seneca County Fair Grounds to a barn that had been converted to a courtroom. After processing 14 of us individually, each of whom refused to give her name and most of whom refused to walk, the judge finally yielded to our demand to be heard as a group. We were all brought in and allowed to make our statement. Charges were dismissed and even our fingerprints and mug shots were returned to us. We returned to the Encampment, where Barbara spent another week before returning home.

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