On Memorial Day weekend, 1971, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, along with a 27-year old activist named John Kerry, sought a permit to camp on Lexington Common as part of their anti-war protest. The town was divided over the issue, and after several angry meetings, the Board of Selectmen denied the permit to camp on what many considered hallowed ground.
Hundreds of townspeople joined in the protest on the common. Around 3 AM, state and local police ordered everyone to leave and arrested those who remained. 50 years later, it is still the largest mass arrest in Massachusetts history, 458 people.
Many Lexington women played a role. Here are testimonies from a few (click to enlarge), collected by the Lexington Oral History Project in the early 1990s. A small exhibit featuring more women's accounts will be installed in the windows of Lexington's CVS Pharmacy this week. And join us on Thursday May 27 for an expert panel on the protest!
Featuring the voices of Lexington Historical Society permanent staff and occasional guest authors.