Anthony's Quaker Roots: Justice for All -- Peace Expert, Author and Quaker Rachel MacNair to Speak at the Quaker Meeting House, Adams, MA, October 7

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Psychology-of-peace expert, author and Quaker Rachel M. MacNair, Ph.D., speaks about Quaker history and beliefs and how they impacted Susan B. Anthony, the state of Massachusetts and the nation.  MacNair will speak at the Quaker Meeting House, Corner of Friend and Maple streets, Maple Street Cemetery, Adams, MA, as part of the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum’s event series, Peace, Justice and Women—Changing the World, 3:00 pm, Sunday, October 7.  A reception will follow the talk.  Free. For more information, visit or call 413-743-7121.

The Birthplace Museum’s 2012 event series is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and grants from Adams Community Bank and Greylock Federal Credit Union. MacNair’s talk is the final event in Birthplace Museum’s 2012 event series.

“To understand how vital the work of Susan B. Anthony was, we need to understand her religious upbringing and the dynamics of social activism of her time,” says MacNair. “These two points are connected, inasmuch as the Religious Society of Friends – Quakers – was in the forefront of activism on gender and racial equality as well as other matters of peace and social justice.”

Quakers had a belief in gender equality when they first began in the 17th century in England, including some of my MacNair’s own ancestors. As early as the 1600s, women such as Margaret Fell were writing essays with biblical arguments in favor of the equality of men and women. Women as well as men were writing extensive journals of their spiritual life journeys, which were commonly read by other Quakers and built up the community’s feelings about their beliefs in social equality, including gender, race, nation, class, and respect for other religions.

A longstanding active Quaker who went to a Quaker college (Earlham College in Indiana), MacNair has experience in the practices and thinking processes of Quakers and has done coursework in Quaker history. Her academic area of expertise, however, is the psychology of peace, which among other things deals with the psychological dynamics of social movements and advocacy. In particular, she has served as co-editor for some of Anthony’s historical writings on these topics.

MacNair is the author of a college textbook, The Psychology of Peace: An Introduction, published by Praeger in 1993 with its second edition due out soon. She has also written a version of this topic for children, Gaining Mind of Peace: Why Violence Happens and How to Stop It. MacNair serves as president of the American Psychological Association’s Division 48, Peace Psychology, and also has a great deal of experience conveying information to a lay audience, including young people, both in written material and in dozens of speaking engagements and over a hundred radio interviews.

The talk will take place during downtown Adams’ first annual Ramblefest,  October 7, featuring music, food vendors and other activities. Following Ramblefest, on Monday, October 8, the Mount Greylock Ramble will be held, when thousands of hikers will trek up the Cheshire Harbor Trail to the summit of the state’s highest mountain.

The Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum is located at 67 East Road, Adams, MA, at the foot of Mount Greylock. For more information, visit or e-mail