The nonviolence of daily living

"You Don't Gotta"
Nelson Legacy Teaser

A sampling of audio interviews produced by Talking Across the Lines

Q: Why did they
live this way?

In Juanita’s words: “That’s the only way you can stop war — stop participating in it, and stop so much consumption that requires war. At least that’s the way I look at it.”

Nelson Homestead 2022 MLK - 480p.mov

Wally and Juanita Nelson were civil rights activists, peace activists, war tax refusers, subsistence farmers, and advocates of simple living.

They were members of groups such as CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), FOR (Fellowship of Reconciliation), and Peacemakers. They were founding members of the Greenfield Farmers' Market, the Free Harvest Supper, the Valley Community Land Trust, and Winter Fare. They were recipients of numerous awards during their lifetime, including the Courage of Conscience Award from the Peace Abbey in Sherborn, Mass., the Sacco and Vanzetti Award from Community Church in Boston, and CISA’s Local Hero Award for championing local food and agriculture.

More
Audio

"You Don't Have to
Ride Jim Crow"
Radio production (2021)
by
Robin Washington

ssp210604-you_dont_have_to-ride.mp3

"Let My People Go —
An Activist's Story"
Kim & Reggie Harris & Juanita Nelson (2005)

12 Let My People Go_ Story Of An Activist's Life.m4a

Student Interview
Sarah Horowitz with Juanita Nelson

Sarah Horowitz's interview of Juanita.mp3
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Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association

Quotes

“I guess a long time ago I got it out of my head I was going to save the world. So I act to save Wally and his integrity. Sometimes it’s a situation that’s dangerous and sometimes not so dangerous. But I would hope that other people would be inspired to do what they ought to do.”

―Wally Nelson


"I am concerned to strive for
a coherent, integrated life…”

—Juanita Nelson

Video

"You Don't Have to Ride Jim Crow"

A PBS documentary film (1995) by Robin Washington

War Tax Resistance

Interview by the NWTRCC

See full NWTRCC video here: https://vimeo.com/19796823

Tribute to Juanita Nelson

Democracy Now, 2015

Occupation: Training for Nonviolence

Charles Light
(Wally begins speaking at 2:48)

SOURCE: https://youtu.be/nnzUKKBCx9w

Input — Alternatives

Part 1 (1970) Exploring Oppression and Class

SOURCE: https://youtu.be/vETRK65IMyw

Part 2 (1970) Philly Black Panthers Debate Revolution

SOURCE: https://youtu.be/7g72aMGejFA?t=77

What would they think?

An imaginary conversation with Juanita and Wally

By Bob Bady, Spring 2021

J:
Wally, I’ve noticed some stirrings at our place the past few years. More doings than just the mice. A bunch of people were having workdays, fixing the place up, getting rid of the rot from all those different roof angles. It was nice to see. I thought, OK, so the place won’t just crumble to the ground. It will be lived in, maybe by someone who will till the bean patch, like that young couple several years back.

But Wally, now they’re talking about turning it into some kind of museum
, and make a website to go with it! I didn’t much like it when people put us on a pedestal, make us into special people who could do things they couldn’t do. They even want to have docents. Unbelievable! Maybe they will have statues of us with flowers and fruit baskets around the base.

W:
Woman, I hear you, let’s look at this. I think if they focus on what we tried to do, tried to be non-violent in the way we lived, some good will come of it.

J:
How will two dead people and their shack help them live with less violence?

W:
We cared about and loved a lot of people. And they loved us back. Some of those people are still alive and they’re our community. I think they understand what we were about and they’re not going to turn us into deities. This community is what’s left of us on earth, it’s going to do what it’s going to do.

J:
Well, Wally, you’re probably right. There’s nothing we can do about it at this point. Nothing that’s non-violent anyway. Maybe they’ll have a harvest dinner with lots of snow peas.

W:
I’d like to see some dancing. I just hope Bob doesn’t start putting words in our mouths. When we met him all those years ago he was a wet behind the ears kid who thought he knew everything. He’s still got some dampness behind those ears.

The Nelsons and Craig Simpson in New Mexico, c. 1971.