Grace Paley

Grace Paley

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Poet and antiwar activist Grace Paley cofounded the Greenwich Village Peace Center, inspiring everyone from a young Bibbe Hansen to Ed Sanders.


Peace in the Village


The peace movement thrived in the Village, and Bibbe Hansen’s school chums were the son and daughter of poet and activist Grace Paley. One day in 1963, she tagged along with them to an early protest against the Vietnam War while conservative Italian Americans threw tomatoes and shouted epithets at them. (As the 1960s wore on, New York City became a hotbed of antiwar activism.) The poet and activist Ed Sanders also joined Paley when they renovated a storefront on West Third Street, between Bleecker Street and Sixth Avenue, which became the Greenwich Village Peace Center. “Meeting Grace Paley and Bob Nichols was a big inspiration,” recalled Ed Sanders, who had recently relocated from his Missouri hometown before gaining notoriety as the frontman of the Fugs and the publisher of Fuck You/A Magazine of the Arts.

From Chapter 1 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore