Vigil for Peace and Justice group that peacefully protested the Vietnam War, nuclear weapons, and government policy in Central America and the Middle East by organizing a weekly vigil in downtown Amherst, Massachusetts. Includes handouts and news clippings.
In winter, 1966, Amherst, Massachusetts became the first town in the United States to form a weekly vigil protesting the Vietnam War. Standing at the northwest corner of the town common on Sundays from 12 to 1 p.m., participants sought to publicly record their political and moral objections to government policies. The vigil continued until the war’s end in 1973.
Wishing to protest the nuclear arms race and the use of nuclear power, and in support of a nuclear freeze moratorium, organizers revived the vigil in 1979, vowing to continue until the establishment of global nuclear disarmament. Frances Crowe, who helped organize the earlier one as well, sees vigils as “a constant, quiet witnessing, a presence to remind ourselves and others of what needs to be done.”
In an expansion of the scope of its concerns, the Nuclear Moratorium Vigil was renamed the Vigil for Peace and Justice of the Amherst Disarmament Coalition in about 1984, protesting government policy in Central America and the Middle East as issues related to global security.
The collection includes handouts and news clippings about the vigil for each year from 1981 to 1987, as well as some from 1979. Also included is a folder of handouts and news clippings from “A Peaceful Response to Recognition Weekend” July 18-20, 1986. Recognition Weekend included, in addition to other events, a 3-hour military parade in Amherst to honor Navy, Coast Guard, Marine, and Seabee veterans. It was organized by regional military veterans and had the support of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
The collection is open for research.
Cite as: Amherst Disarmament Coalition Collection (MS 165). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Acquired from: Margaret Holt.
Processed by Linda Seidman, 2002.
- Amherst (Mass.)--Social conditions--20th century
- Anti-imperialist movements--Massachusetts--Amherst
- Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
- Nuclear Moratorium Vigil (Amherst, Mass.)
- Peace movements--Massachusetts--Amherst
- Social movements--Massachusetts--Amherst
- Vigil for Peace and Justice (Amherst, Mass.)
- Amherst Disarmament Coalition (Amherst, Mass.)
- Crowe, Frances, 1919-
Types of material