Why This Book Speaks to Me

by Kate Farrell on January 23, 2014


Dmitri Rusov-Morningstar

Written by Dmitri Rusov-Morningstar

I’ve read many of the pieces from Times They Were A-Changing, a women’s anthology of the ‘60s & ‘70s, and have been struck by the honesty, courage and brilliance of the authors who contributed.

In the ‘60s, there was a popular poster, Chinese, I believe, that said, “Women hold up half the sky.” And so it was imperative for this volume to be compiled. It is a necessary document of historical significance that cannot be ignored. Because if the work and struggles of the women of those days is in any way disregarded, it creates a tear in the fabric of everything we worked and struggled for in our quest for Freedom and Peace, Equality and Opportunity.

Those were such turbulent times that it is almost impossible to give the main spotlight to any single facet as the most important: the war in Viet Nam, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Movement, the Farm Workers’ Union, Folk Music, the Environmental Movement, our Rebellious dress codes, the way we spoke—“Can ya dig it?”—Experimenting with various drugs, Open sex, Demonstrations in the streets, Media blackout, Circumventing Media Blackout, Demanding to have our voices heard and seen, Speaking Truth to Power, Picket Lines, Leafleting, Non-violent Civil Disobedience from without and within the System. There were the Socially Responsible Medical and Environmental Organizations, people opposing nuclear anything. It was our Age of Enlightenment and it was the young women and men of the day who together made it happen.

Each of these facets and probably many more I’ve overlooked, brought us together as one precious diamond. And, once again, many of the unspoken heroes of the day were the women who had to break through the same walls of oppression that kept them silent for millennia.

Another reason this volume is so very important is for the young people of today. It is a road map for them to see the courage of how living their convictions can give them a better way of life, that there is a way to live differently than what the mainstream media shoves in their faces to hold them back. And this can come about with a united effort of non-violent civil disobedience, keeping their Eyes on the Prize as the main focus of making their world a better, healthier place than what it is today. Books like this tell it like it still can be, not just telling it like it was then.

The ‘60s & ‘70s was a time of Change unlike any other in the history of our beloved Country. It was primarily the youth of the day who demanded the changes and who created the vehicles for change. It was a time of poetry, coffee houses, jailhouses and a time of immeasurable courage. It was a time of great victories and great losses, but the golden thread connecting it all was that we were ‘walking our talk’ together. This volume brings all that back in honest, open, brilliant offerings. These stories and poems show how the experiences of women then endure to shape their lives today, and how these women, holding up half the sky, Carry It On to help heal our ailing world today.

For me, it was the Truth of the music that was my Truth. The music of Joan Baez, Odetta, Judy Collins, Mimi Fariña, [Ian and] Sylvia, Joanie Mitchell, Nancy Michaels, Ronnie Gilbert, Judy Roderick, Big Mama Thornton, The Penny Whistlers, Dayle Stanley, Mary Travers [Peter, Paul, and Mary], Maria Muldaur, Martine Habib, and so many more molded my awakening to the values I still live today. I had the privilege of working as a producer with many of these courageous women helping to bring their music and politics to so many thousands of very hip young folkies of the day!

Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to comment on this awesome collection of heart and soul you have put together. It should be in every school and library in this country and every other country, for that matter.

Peace and Love!

Dmitri Rusov-Morningstar is a green building consultant and Residential Designer whose education in the methods and materials of sustainable (green) building enables him to bring his clients and projects into full harmony with the environment and current building codes. He enjoys working closely with his clientele in order to provide them with the safest and most cost-efficient design that meets their expressed desires and specifications.



{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Amber Lea Starfire January 24, 2014

Dmitri, thank you for sharing this thoughtful commentary on the era and the Times They Were A-Changing anthology and its historical importance.


Jo Lauer January 27, 2014

Wonderful book made even better by knowing some of the fabulous women who contributed their stories. Took me back a few years 🙂 Wonderful review, Dmitri. I know you were there, brother. It took us all. It still takes us all. We’re not done yet. Can ya dig it?


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