Topics: Speakers, Alumni

September 27, 2019

A peace banner hangs near the library (from the 1970 Orient).
A peace banner hangs near the library (from the 1970 Orient).

Alumni of the Ball State University chapter of the Vietnam Moratorium Committee (VMC) will share their history of student activism with today’s students and anyone else who would like to know more about peaceful efforts to end the Vietnam War 50 years ago.

“If you look at today’s social and political issues that young activists are organizing around, you’ll note a lot of overlap with the concerns of their ’60s counterparts,” said Dr. Michael Doyle, a Ball State associate professor of history emeritus and an organizer of the event. “Our conference attempts to provide a forum for opening up a dialogue between the older and emerging generations who together seek to make the world more just, equal, and sustainable.”

The conference, which is free and open to the public, will be from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. October 11 at the Pittenger Student Center. People can participate in all or part of the event.

Author, journalist, and veteran activist David Harris will be the featured speaker at the event, presenting on 1960s activism on behalf of peace and justice. The founder of the anti-draft organization The Resistance, he has written 11 books, including “Our War: What We Did in Vietnam and What It Did to Us.”

Dr. Mary (Munchel) Posner, lead organizer of the Ball State Vietnam Moratorium Committee in 1969-70, will speak about “We Gave Peace A Chance — So Can You: The Vietnam Moratorium Committee at Ball State University, 1969-1971.”

There will also be three panels held throughout the day, moderated by Dr. Elizabeth Agnew, a Ball State philosophy and religious studies professor; Gerry Waite, a Vietnam veteran and emeritus Ball State lecturer in anthropology; and Doyle. The panelists will discuss:

  • “Picking up the Pieces: What Antiwar Activists Did Right and What Went Wrong — Lessons for Leaders of Today’s Social Movements”
  • “From ‘War No More’ to ‘The Forever War’: Activism for Peace and Social Justice after Vietnam”
  • “Coming Home: Student Military Veterans from Vietnam to the War on Terror”

The conference will include an activist fair and poster session from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., following Harris’s speech, and end at 5 p.m. with a memorial service in front of the Arts Terrace. A curtain of 1,000 origami peace cranes, created by Posner and other volunteers, will be displayed.

A reunion dinner for all who participated in antiwar demonstrations during 1969 and 1970 at Ball State will be held October 10 in Ball State’s Alumni Center Assembly Hall. Reservations are due October 1 and can be made at the VMC website. The cost to attend the reunion dinner is $40, which includes choice of entree and a commemorative T-shirt.

“The goal for this event is to reunite with those who participated in the VMC in 1969,” said Posner, an organizer of the reunion and conference. “It’s to remember what we did on behalf of peace, to share our history with others, and to rekindle the spirit of peace, social justice, and activism in current students and the wider Muncie community.”

For more information on the conference, visit the VMC website