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Jessica Frazier PhD candidate

Before the students, there were the housewives

PhD candidate in history Jessica Frazier says women were much more influential in the anti-Vietnam War movement than most people realize.

During the '60s, the anti-Vietnam War movement wasn't the student-led campaign of popular imagination. At least not initially.

In the early '60s, a group of middle-aged, middle-class housewives formed Women Strike for Peace to call attention to the out-of-control arms race and quickly realized the consequences of escalation in Vietnam. By 1965, they started traveling to North Vietnam to meet with Vietnamese women, visit POWs and deliver letters.

Binghamton University PhD candidate in history Jessica Frazier is looking at why these women took such extraordinary measures and how they influenced the peace movement. She's received a number of grants to peruse archives around the country, including a Schlesinger Library Dissertation Grant, a Sophia Smith Travel-to-Collections Grant from Smith College and a Mary Lily Research Grant from Duke University.

Early in her research, Frazier quickly realized the diversity of women involved — non-violent women, militant women, women of color, poor women — and says they haven't gotten as much attention as the student movement because every generation that's written about the era, grew up in the era.

"I'm the first generation of researchers who wasn't alive during the Vietnam War," she says.

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Last Updated: 11/14/16