Celebrating the symbol at 50, man.
By JASON ASHLEY WRIGHT World Scene Writer
Last Modified: 7/15/2008
Draft cards, drugs, sex and rock 'n' roll. Oh, yeah, and that whole
The '60s spurred a bevy of groovy words and catchphrases, not to
mention styles that seem to sprint down runways any given season since.
That tumultuous, free-loving period may be credited frequently for
giving us the peace symbol, which you'll see occasionally on shirts
and accessories around town this summer.
But 2008 marks the symbol's 50th anniversary. Do the math, that's
1958 more "Leave It to Beaver" than "Let the Sunshine In."
The peace symbol was originally designed for the Campaign for Nuclear
Disarmament in England. The CND campaigns nonviolently to rid the
world of nuclear weapons and other WMDs, according to information
from the organization's Web site (see tulsaworld.com/cnd).
Eventually, the symbol was adopted in the U.S. as part of the
counterculture, more specifically the anti-war movement that began
mostly on college campuses in the early '60s, said Dr. Michael Logan,
professor and leader of the history department at Oklahoma State University.
The symbol's significance here for many folks, anyway probably
started with this youth movement, Logan said. He particularly cited
the "stop war, stop draft" protests of 1967, including one at the
Pentagon that October. It was "more whimsical" than the violent
protest that year in Oakland, Calif., as 50,000 people gathered
outside, all joining hands to levitate the Pentagon.
"Of course, that didn't work well," Logan joked. But in that
whimsical crowd, more than likely, you would've found a peace symbol
or two among, perhaps, other levitation-inspiring paraphernalia.
The former accoutrement eventually seeped into mainstream society, Logan said.
"The '60s counterculture, like the music, the rock 'n' roll, it's
old-fashioned now. It's classic rock; you hear it in elevators. But
you also have the new music, and some of that will bleed into
mainstream, but not all of it.
"Same goes for styles of dress," he added. And judging by what we've
seen recently in area stores, the peace symbol is one of those
enduring "styles of dress" from history's hippie fringe.
Just a few steps inside J. Spencer's south Tulsa store, 8303 S.
Memorial Drive, we found an entire table covered with various peace
symbol jewelry leather bracelets, enameled pendants, earrings,
gold-plated symbols, some with cubic zirconia, heart-shaped ones and
"It goes hand-in-hand with that whole '70s boho-graphic theme that's
going on right now," said the store's namesake and owner, Julie
Spencer. When she went to market a while back, she was surprised to
see all the peace-symbol jewelry, then found out about its anniversary.
Natalie Allen has a few in her store, Nattie Bleu at 3515 S. Peoria
Ave. She showed us a sterling peace-symbol necklace by Alex Woo and a
Love Jolan B belt with the symbol, doves and the word "peace"
emblazoned in beads from end to end.
We left there, out Allen's back door and across a courtyard where
Sonoma Bistro diners nosh, to pop into Sideways, which had a
leather-knotted bracelet with a metal peace symbol plus, perhaps
for those diners, mint tins decorated with peace symbols.
"For some people, it probably is a little bit of a political
statement," Spencer said.
Like Rachel Zarrow, for example.
"To me, it's like a religious symbol," said the 17-year-old artist
behind Purple Soup Jewelry. This soon-to-be-senior at Holland Hall
fashions colorful jewelry, pieces of which have incorporated
"If you don't support world peace, you shouldn't be wearing one," she
said. "People should think about what it stands for."
Jason Ashley Wright 581-8483