Art, Entertainment, and Culture

‘Radical’ Gathers Activists from ’60s, Now to Discuss History & Future of Protest

Historians show what Cambridge and Somerville were like in the day

– Marc Levy, CambridgeDay.com

Activists from the 1960s and today and Cambridge and Somerville historians gather for “Radical: Cambridge and Somerville activism in the ’60s and today,” to be held from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. July 29 at the lecture hall of the Cambridge Main Library, 449 Broadway, Mid-Cambridge. Cambridge Community Television will be on hand to get panelists’ and audience members’ stories from the 1960s on video. The event is free.

By all accounts, Cambridge and Somerville were wild 50 years ago, and the energy in these cities drew amazing people doing extraordinary things. The goal of this Cambridge Day-sponsored event is to get those voices and their stories recorded, so we don’t lose them, but also to connect with our latest generations of activists to understand how the work of the 1960s affects what they’re doing today.

There’s one more treat in store: In addition to panel discussions, there will be a free custom ice cream flavor from Toscanini’s made in honor of the 1960s.

From the 1960s

“Radical” brings to the stage 1960s activists such as: Ti-Grace Atkinson, the radical feminist who took on The New York Times; Bill Cunningham, local housing activist and historian; Saundra Graham, who fought Harvard expansion; Laury Hammel, who went from Students for a Democratic Society to advocating for sustainable businesses; Carol Hill, who went to jail for defying a grand jury; and Ken Reeves, who applied the ideals of the 1960s to city government as a city councillor and mayor.

New generations

Participating activists from more recent generations include Mari Gashaw, a young activist who chained herself to City Hall as part of a Black Lives Matter protest over affordable housing; Klara Ingersoll, who fought for change at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School by organizing a walkout against a culture of sexual harassment; and state Rep. Mike Connolly, who went from being an Occupy Boston lawyer to the State House with inspiration from Bernie Sanders.

Historians

Presenting first in the day to explain what Cambridge and Somerville were like in the heady days of the 1960s and early 1970s are local historians Charles Sullivan, executive director of the Cambridge Historical Commission, co-author of “Building Old Cambridge: Architecture and Development”; and Tim Devin, artist, librarian and author of “Mapping out utopia: 1970s Boston-area counterculture, book 1: Cambridge.”

For information, send email to events@cambridgeday.com.

Harvard Square protestors

Protesters gather in Harvard Square in April 1970. (Photo: Cambridge Historical Commission).

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