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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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5. Masculine Heroes   



14. Becoming Visible

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
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Activities: Author Activities


Grace Paley - Selected Archive Items

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[3043] John A. Gentry, LCpl, Vietnam ... Private First Class Joseph Big Medicine Jr., a Cheyenne Indian, Writes a Letter to His Family in the United States (1969),
courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.
Soldier from Company G, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, on clear, search and destroy mission near An Hoa. U.S. military involvement in Vietnam encouraged antiwar protests and distrust of the government. Writer Grace Paley described herself as a "combative pacifist and cooperative anarchist" and was deeply involved in the antiwar movement.

[3296] Dick DeMarsico, Protesting A-Bomb Tests (1962),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-126854].
Demonstrators protesting U.S. tests of atomic weapons. The use of nuclear weapons in World War II prompted a variety of responses from U.S. citizens, including fear, protest, and feelings of alienation.

[6180] United Women's Contingent, When Women Decide This War Should End, This War Will End: Join the United Women's Contingent on April 24 (1971),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZC4-6882].
Protest poster against the Vietnam War. The antiwar, civil rights, women's rights, and gay liberation movements were connected politically and artistically. In 1961, writer and activist Grace Paley founded the Greenwich Village Peace Center, which was integral to draft resistance during the Vietnam War.

[7360] Frank Moffit, SPC 5, Vietnam ... A Sky Trooper from the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) Keeps Track of the Time He Has Left on His "Short Time" Helmet (1968),
courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.
Soldier, part of Operation Pershing, near Bong Son. By 1968, many Americans were ambivalent about U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Most of the soldiers drafted after 1965 were troubled by their role in what they saw as a morally ambiguous conflict. A variety of American poets protested the war, including Allen Ginsberg, Denise Levertov, Robert Bly, Robert Lowell, Adrienne Rich, James Wright, and Galway Kinnell.

[7362] Phil Stanziola, 800 Women Strikers for Peace on 47th St. near the UN Building (1962),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-128465].
Women protest for peace. Antiwar sentiment grew throughout the 1960s as many Americans became more critical of the Cold War mentality. Throughout the Cold War, the United States became involved in international conflicts that had high American death tolls and no apparent resolution, such as the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

[7863] Committee for the Defense of Soviet Political Prisoners, The Left and the Soviet Union: Is a Broad-Based Left Wing Defense of Soviet Political Prisoners Possible? (n.d.),
courtesy of the Library of Congress.
While dominant U.S. political movements condemned communism and socialism throughout the Cold War, many activists, writers, and intellectuals supported non-capitalist forms of government while also grappling with political repression and authoritarian rule in the Soviet Union. This panel discussion on "The Left and the Soviet Union" featured such figures as the English historian E. P.




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