The weekend of May 2, 1991, was my oldest daughter Jane's high school reunion. She graduated 20 years ago from Cleveland's Shaker Heights High School in the midst of a highly visible and, to a large degree, successful civil rights movement. Martin Luther King Jr. had been a family friend and visitor to our home. Shaker Heights had become peacefully integrated. She marched with her mother in many a peace demonstration.
Those were heady years when thousands of people, young and old, turned out to protest our government's policies. History records that our marching feet and our organizing paid off -- power responded to protest, civil rights legislation was put in place, and the Vietnam War was brought to an end.
Jane entered college in the midst of the sexual revolution when marijuana was part of the rite of passage and everything but everything had to be contextual. She took courses in the newly established women's studies program and focused her remarkable mind and her sensitive social conscience on the issue of women's rights. Upon graduation she became a VISTA worker in rural Wisconsin. Her first "real" job was as director of WomenSpace, a center for women in Cleveland. The center had been funded by churches and local foundations. Her mother, the author of this article, was the founding president.
We liked to think of ourselves as countercultural, and to a degree that was true. In my case, a 17-page FBI file documented activities that were noteworthy enough to be recorded by a suspicious establishment.