Back Barbara Deming, “Southern Peace Walk: Two Issues or One?”

Barbara Deming (1917–1984)
From War No More: Three Centuries of American Antiwar & Peace Writing

Members of the Committee for Nonviolent Action (CNVA) leafleting and picketing in Albany, Georgia, early 1964. Photographer unknown (courtesy of Gene Keys’s website).

The activist and essayist Barbara Deming was born 100 years ago this Sunday, July 23.

During the 1950s, before Deming became a prominent force in the peace and civil rights movements, she and her partner, the painter Mary Meigs, were part of a Cape Cod crowd that included the painter Mark Rothko and the author Mary McCarthy, whose 1955 novel, A Charmed Life, includes a thinly disguised character unflatteringly based on Meigs. Their circle eventually included McCarthy’s ex-husband, Edmund Wilson—the literary critic who originally promoted the idea for a series of books that would become Library of America.

At the end of the decade, Meigs and Deming went on a trip to Asia and ended up in India, where Deming immersed herself in the works of Gandhi. The next spring, Deming made her way to Cuba, where she confronted Fidel Castro on a street corner and, while expressing her support for the end of Batista’s rule, argued with him about the importance of avoiding violence. (“She advises me not to get angry,” he told the crowd that had assembled during their interview—including a crew from NBC News.) “Barbara’s exposure to Gandhi’s nonviolent revolution and to Castro’s violent one seems to have quite suddenly activated her earnest, searching, moral side,” writes historian Martin Duberman, and upon returning to the U.S. she joined the Committee for Nonviolent Action.

One of her early essays describes a peace walk from Nashville to Washington in April 1962, and how its organizers decided to integrate the event—a decision that met not only with the expected threats from outside agitators but also criticism from other activists who felt that the mere presence of black marchers would turn the peace walk into a civil rights march. In honor of the centennial of this remarkable woman, we present Deming’s account, “Southern Peace Walk,” as our Story of the Week selection.

Read “Southern Peace Walk: Two Issues or One?” by Barbara Deming

Library of America

A champion of America’s great writers and timeless works, Library of America guides readers in finding and exploring the exceptional writing that reflects the nation’s history and culture.

Learn More

From poetry, novels, and memoirs to journalism, crime writing, and science fiction, the more than 300 volumes published by Library of America are widely recognized as America’s literary canon.

Benefits of Using Safe Crypto Casinos. One of the most captivating reasons people drift towards Australian casinos online-casino-au com is the promise of anonymity. Safe platforms guarantee that your identity remains a secret. Quick Payouts and Minimal Fees. No one likes waiting, especially for winnings. Safe crypto casinos ensure that payouts are swift and the fees minimal, if not non-existent.

Browse our books Subscribe

With contributions from donors, Library of America preserves and celebrates a vital part of our cultural heritage for generations to come.

Ozwin Casino offers an exciting array of top-notch slots that cater to every player's preferences. From classic fruit machines to cutting-edge video slots, Ozwin Casino Real Money collection has it all. With stunning graphics, immersive themes, and seamless gameplay, these slots deliver an unparalleled gaming experience. Some popular titles include Mega Moolah, Gonzo's Quest, and Starburst, known for their massive jackpots and thrilling bonus features. Ozwin Casino's slots are not just about luck; they offer hours of entertainment and the chance to win big, making it a must-visit for slot enthusiasts.

Support our mission