(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved. Contact us for information about using this image.
Even as a teenager Juanita Nelson followed her convictions. She remembers being 16 years old and traveling to Georgia on a segregated train. She protested by taking a seat in each car that was reserved for white people. As a result of this decision and others like it, Juanita is considered a pioneering civil rights activist. More accurately, she has pursued a life-long commitment to her belief in nonviolence. Throughout her life, this promise has guided her choices. She and life-partner Wally Nelson actively participated in organizations dedicated to peace and equality. They became war tax resisters. They traveled south to live in an intentional Christian community. Eventually, they became homesteaders in Deerfield, Massachusetts, with self-sufficiency as their goal. Juanita explains that "by simplifying my needs and by living more nearly within the bounds of my own productivity, I hope to reduce my exploitation of the earth and its inhabitants."