Social Spaces: Activism
The College of William & Mary was a hotbed of political activism in the late 1960s; students were protesting everything from the Vietnam War to the oppressive conduct rules for women. However, the three women often found that participating in protests was not worth the risk.“We had to be very careful with our roles in any protest because if any student were identified and kicked out, we would be the first to go,” Lynn Briley said. “All they need is one reason to kick you out.” She was not the only one with this concern.
“I could not personally afford to jeopardize my being here because my family could not afford to send me anywhere else. I was not going to bring shame on them or on myself by not succeeding,” Brown Strafer added.
However, Brown Strafer remembers going to the field behind Barrett Hall (better known these days as Jamestown Field) to burn a copy of the Student Handbook with the much-maligned dress code. The three women became more involved in activism in their last two years of college. Brown Strafer emphasized “the safety in numbers” as more African-American students arrived at William and Mary.