The 1970s saw incredible advancements in public engagement with, and recognition of, women’s rights. This flowering of second-wave feminism had a far-reaching impact on American society. What was it like for women who participated in the counterculture during that time? What challenges did they face, and what opportunities did they find? How was women’s experience in Vermont unique, and what did it share with the rest of the country? How does it relate to the current generation of young women? Bring your ideas, questions, and thoughts for a far-reaching roundtable conversation reflecting on the past and its connections to the present.
In our annual partnership with the Vermont Historical Society (VHS) to honor Women's History Month (March), Vermont Commission on Women will present this free evening roundtable discussion, "Women of the Counterculture Movement in 1970’s Vermont" at Goddard College’s Haybarn Theater. Wednesday, March 15 at 7:00 pm.
This event will be moderated by director of the VT Commission on Women, Cary Brown and will feature Bridget Downey-Meyer, Louise Andrews, Melinda Moulton and Verandah Porche, reflecting on what brought them into this movement, what their experience was like, and what lasting impact it’s had on their own lives and on Vermont society. Enjoy stories of this time, and learn through the lens of these women who took part.
Bridget Downey-Meyer – was a member of the Mount Philo Inn from 1969 to 1973, a collective in Charlotte, VT. Her experience includes working with draft resisters to cross into Canada, the establishment of the People's Free Clinic, and alternative schooling with an emphasis on experiential learning for children.
Louise Andrews – was a member of Earthworks, a commune in Franklin, VT and worked on their alternative newspaper. She participated in women’s conferences and consciousness-raising during this time, and grew as a femininist. She learned about working with animals and growing, producing and eating healthy food while at Earthworks, as well as participating in Unity Players, a political street theatre group.
Melinda Moulton – while working at Harvard with Dr. James Watson, co-discoverer of the DNA helix and father of the Human Genome Project, Melinda joined in the antiwar and civil rights protests of the time. She met her future husband and eventually moved into a tent in Huntington, Vermont in 1972, and lived with her infant and partner with no running water, no phone, no TV until they built their own stone house, inspired by Helen and Scott Nearing. She collected 36 truckloads of stone with a baby on her back. Fast forward to the early 80’s: She provided the leadership to produce a 25-year incremental redevelopment project for Burlington’s waterfront and pioneered new concepts in environmental and socially conscious redevelopment.
Verandah Porche - after graduating from Boston University in 1968 she founded a commune in Guilford Vermont called Total Loss Farm with friends, where she still lives. She’s published three books of poetry, The Body's Symmetry, Glancing Off, and Sudden Eden. Maintaining a focus on conversation and exchange of ideas, it’s now called Monteverdi Artists and is a haven and home for artists and writers, as well as exhibition and event spaces for writers, visual artists, theatrical productions, and readings.
Plan to join us that evening, and in the meantime, check out VHS’ multi-year research project on this influential decade in Vermont: http://vermonthistory.org/research/vermont-1970s.