Working for Peace and Justice
Memoirs of an Activist Intellectual
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: The University of Tennessee Press
Title page, Copyright page, Dedication page
Table of Contents
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List of Illustrations
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Working for Peace and Justice is the first memoir to be published in the Legacies of War series. It is especially fitting to include Larry Wittner’s memoir in the series, given his life and career as one of America’s leading academic experts on the peace movement...
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On a cold night in mid-January 1985, the police in Albany, New York, placed me under arrest. Hustling me out the front door of the Leo O’Brien federal building— where I had been engaged in an anti-apartheid sit-in—they formed a sort of flying wedge...
1. Family Background
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When I was growing up, none of my relatives from Europe ever discussed with me what their lives in the Old Country had been like, nor did they mention what had happened...
2. Brooklyn Boyhood
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I entered the picture on the evening of May 5, 1941. Born in Brooklyn’s Israel Zion Hospital, I was my parents’ first child. In line with Jewish tradition, I was named after a deceased grandparent—in this case, my father’s mother, Leah. Had I been...
3. College Days, 1958–1962
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Founded in 1754 as Kings College and renamed thanks to the American Revolution, Columbia College was one of the prestigious Ivy League schools. Over the next two centuries, it gradually relocated from its original home in lower Manhattan...
4. Graduate School, 1962–1967
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My choice of the University of Wisconsin for graduate work was designed, in part, to provide me with a different sort of life than I had experienced in New York City. And it did. The university maintained a big, sprawling campus right in the middle...
5. A Young Faculty Member, 1967–1972
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In September 1967 I began my first full-time college teaching position at Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia. Founded in 1868 by U.S. General Samuel Chapman Armstrong, whose troops garrisoned the Virginia Tidewater region during...
6. Overseas Exile, 1972–1974
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Arriving in Amalfi at the beginning of September 1972, we were struck by its beauty. Patty, Julia, and I lived in the small, marble Villa Lara, one of several upgraded peasant cottages on a mountainside estate overlooking the town and the Mediterranean. The estate was owned by the Duchess of Amalfi, who bewailed the...
7. Grappling with Issues of Work and Love, 1974–1980
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In the fall of 1974, when I began teaching at SUNY/Albany, the school had had a long, rather uninspiring history. Founded in 1844 as the New York State Normal School—a two-year training college for grade school teachers—it evolved over time into...
8. An Activist Academic, 1981–1989
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During the early 1980s, my family life once again reached an even keel. Dorothy attended the School of Social Welfare, obtaining her master’s degree in social work in 1982. After graduation she was employed for a time as a counselor at Albany’s...
9. A National and International Figure, 1990–2001
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Beginning in the early 1990s, my prominence as a historian, coupled with my research on the history of the world nuclear disarmament movement, led to my playing a growing national and international role. I had presided over a nationwide (albeit small)...
10. Growing Old, but Not Gracefully, 2001–2011
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As people age, they usually lose their youthful exuberance—indeed, grow gloomier and more pessimistic. One reason for this, I guess, is that their glands start pumping out lower levels of adrenalin, thus reducing their energy level. Also, they...
11. In Retrospect
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Although I sprang back from the cancer and chemotherapy of late 2007 with renewed teaching, speaking, writing, and troublemaking, I did become more thoughtful. After all, near-death experiences do lead people to reflect upon the meaning of their...
Other Books by Lawrence Wittner
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Page Count: 288
Illustrations: 27 halftones
Publication Year: 2012