The year the class of 1971 entered Barnard College, the Columbia campus exploded in protests, part of the international uprising in the spring of 1968. We graduated to find doors opening for women but at the same time long standing barriers persisted. Many of us broke through those barriers. Many of us worked on the front lines of social change. Many of us strove, with varying degrees of success to “have it all.” All of us grappled with and were shaped by a rapidly changing social and political reality.
Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Columbia Student Building Occupation and Strike in April 1968, the beloved late Barnard Political Science Professor Peter Juviler joined a group of Barnard College ’71 alumnae in a conversation about their experiences in 1968. He urged us to collect and share our stories. Inspired by Professor Juviler’s interest, a group of B’71 alumnae began to collect oral histories of classmates documenting not only their experiences in 1968 but also the full trajectories of their lives in a time of great social change.
Subsequently, the group created BC Voices, Inc., incorporating in New York State as a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization and setting out to:
- Create the Barnard Class of 1971 Oral History Collection, a substantial and representative collection of our classmates’ oral histories;
- Generate additional ways to share the experiences of women of the ‘60s coming of age during the tumultuous political, social and cultural upheaval of the late 1960s/early 1970s and forging new paths for women during the last half of the 20th into the early 21st century.