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Women reject HUAC, march on White House: 1962 | by Washington Area Spark
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Women reject HUAC, march on White House: 1962

Members of Women’s Strike for Peace march on the White House December 13, 1962 following a probe into the peace group by House Un American Activities Committee (HUAC) on Capitol Hill.


The group's leader, Dagmar Wilson is third from the left with glasses.


The group struck a chord in the U.S. when thousands of women gathered in Washington earlier in the year to protest against nuclear testing fallout and the lack of a test ban treaty.


President Kennedy responded to that demonstration by saying, “I saw the ladies myself. I recognized why they were here. There were a great number of them. It was in the rain. I understood what they were attempting to say and, therefore, I considered that their message was received.”


HUAC responded by scheduling hearings into alleged communist domination of the Women’s Strike for Peace and held three days of hearings Dec 11-13, 1962.


Of the 11 witnesses called, nine invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to testify. The final witness, Wilson, founder of the group, gave full testimony in front of 500 supporters in the committee hearing room.


When asked if she would purge communists from the organization, she responded “certainly not” and if asked if she would make the movement equally open to Nazis and Fascists, she replied, “If only we could get them on our side.”


During the hearing, committee counsel Alfred Nittle asked Wilson if she had orchestrated simultaneous demonstrations in 58 American cities on Nov. 1, 1961. Wilson responded that the spontaneity of the feminine peace movement was “hard to explain to the masculine mind.”


As each of the previous women called to testify refused to answer committee questions, each woman was applauded by the partisan audience. Wilson said at the end of the hearing that, “Solid support of the women for those who took the Fifth [Amendment] is an indication that we are simply not concerned with personal points of view.”


Following the hearing, the women marched to the White House where they picketed with signs reading, “End the Arms Race, Not the Human Race” and “Peace is American.”


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The photographer is unknown. The image is an auction find.

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Taken on December 13, 1962