Back on the Historical Record

In 1993, the University of Chicago Press published Women Strike for Peace: Traditional Motherhood and Radical Politics in the 1960s. The book resulted from a lifetime of work by WSP leader and esteemed gender history Professor Amy Swerdlow and charted the history of Women Strike for Peace from its formation in 1961 through to the end of the 1960s. In her introduction, Swerdlow clearly outlined the intentions driving her study:

““I recognize that my purpose was not only to add the story of WSP to the historical record, but also to make certain that the middle-aged women of WSP are recognized as significant actors.”[1]

Throughout her academic life, the former WSP leader lamented the “historical amnesia” afforded the organisation and, from the outset of her book, she presented the group as “ignored or misrepresented” in the histories produced by “male movement leaders and historians of the social movements of the 1960s.”[2] Amy Swerdlow wanted to change that legacy. Yet, 23 years on from its publication, Women Strike for Peace remains the sole publication dedicated to the history of WSP. Although some recent works have added fantastic detail and analysis to the pool of knowledge surrounding the group, an historical amnesia remains evident.

womenstrikeforpeace.com wants to rectify this. It brings together archival research, scholarly work, and anecdotes from members to provide a vital educational resource for those wishing to know more about the history of Women Strike for Peace. On this site you will find biographies of key activists, discussion of significant moments in the group’s past, and links to archives and publications where you can find out more.

More importantly, womenstrikeforpeace.com wants to encourage the community of people interested in the past, present, and future of women’s peace activism. It wants to hear about your own experiences and recollections to enrich what is already known. The site has no agenda except to continue adding the story of WSP to the historical record and promote interest in an extraordinary group of women who came together with a simple appeal: End the Arms Race – Not the Human Race.

 

[1] Amy Swerdlow, Women Strike for Peace: Traditional Motherhood and Radical Politics in the 1960s (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), 12.

[2] Amy Swerdlow, “Ladies’ Day at the Capitol: Women Strike for Peace Versus HUAC,” Feminist Studies, Vol. 8, No. 3 (Autumn 1982): 493; Swerdlow, Women Strike for Peace, 12.

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