City Club of Eugene
8:51 am
Mon March 31, 2014

World War II, Conscientious Objectors On The Oregon Coast-Seeds Of The Sixties

Meeting Date: Friday, March 28, 2014

Air Date: Monday, March 31, 2014

The Summer of Love may have begun at a 1940s work camp in Waldport. That’s the result of Steve McQuiddy’s research into the history of Civilian Public Service (CPS) Camp #56 and the Fine Arts at Waldport, populated by artists and writers from across the country. Those conscientious objectors (COs) chose a condition of penance — compulsive labor for refusing to serve in the military — and put it to constructive ends.

McQuiddy’s new book describes those World War II COs and how they plowed the ground for the social and cultural revolutions of the 1960s. Twenty years in the making, packed with research findings and more than 80 photographs, Here on the Edge, was published by the Oregon State University Press.

During the 1950s, COs from the camp took part in the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance along with Beat Generation writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Those writers inspired Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters. So it’s not a stretch to see the members of CPS Camp #56 as leading the way to the upheavals and peace movements of the 1960s and the “Summer of Love” in 1967.

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