Saturday, November 18, 2006

In Memory of Carrie Dickerson

Today is Saturday, 18 November 2006.

It is with great sorrow that The Museum of the Bourgeois memorializes the death yesterday of Carrie Dickerson.

Carrie was born in a log cabin in Oklahoma in 1917. She earned a B.A. and M.A. in home economics, and taught in several schools. In the 1960s, she and her husband opened a nursing home in Oklahoma, and she attended nursing school and became a registered nurse.

In 1973, she learned the local utility planned to build a nuclear power plant near her family farm. After several months of intensive study on the issue, she began organizing opposition. In the course of her struggle, she sold her nursing home, mortgaged the farm, contributed her savings, and made and sold quilts to support the group she had founded, Citizens Action for Safe Energy. Lawsuits were filed. Thousands rallied round. Carrie gave some $200,000 to the cause.

In 1982, the utility announced cancellation of the Black Fox Nuclear Power Plant. Since then, no American nuclear power plant has been approved for construction.

The struggle left her nearly broke, and she taught quilting classes to make ends meet.

A few years ago, she told the Tulsa World, “Sometimes we’re expected to do something with our lives other than what we had planned. I think this was my purpose in life. That’s the reason I can accept my condition today.”

She also said, “People always told me that I couldn’t win, that I was too small to make a difference. I’ve always said that you can’t win if you don’t try.”

It was my honour to be Carrie’s comrade in the struggle. Her latter words are a fitting epitaph for her. Carrie was petite in stature, but mighty in conviction and deeds.

Fare thee well, Carrie. We shall keep the faith, we continue the struggle.


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