Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Traprock Peace Center Records
A grassroots organization based in Deerield, Mass., the Traprock Peace Center has waged a long campaign to educate the public regionally and globally about peace and non-violence. The Center was founded in 1979 after the closure of the alternative Woolman Hill School on Woolman Hill, a retreat and (since 1982) conference center run by the Society of Friends. After considering various alternatives for what to do with the buildings, the school board reached consensus on establishing a center for education and training in non-violence, an effort to be coordinated by a long-time member of the War Resisters League, Beverly Woodward.
Beginning in 1979, a core group of peace activists began to meet to form what would become Traprock, including Randy Kehler, Frances Crowe, Gordon Faison, Pauline Bassett, and later, Meg Gage. To sharpen their focus, the core group turned their attention to the nuclear arms race, which they regarded as the "ultimate manifestation of violence" and the primary threat to peace in the world. During the early part of 1980, the Reagan era about to dawn, organization against the nuclear arms race began to coalesce, and Traprock helped lead the effort to place a referendum on a nuclear weapons moratorium on the ballot. That fall, even as Ronald Reagan swept into office, the nuclear freeze passed in all four districts in Western Massachusetts. Kehler and Crowe were significant national figures in the nuclear freeze movement in the 1980s, and many others at Traprock were vital supporters.
Even with the intense focus on the freeze, activists associated with Traprock soon began to tackle a wide range of issues in peace and social justice. Among the dozens of projects the Center has taken on over the years, it has been active in promoting public awareness of issues relating to nuclear power and nuclear energy, depleted uranium, the economic sanctions against Iraq and the Iraq wars, the "Star Wars" missile defense system, American intervention in Central America, and the growth of militarism in the United States.