Timeline of Juanita’s Life

portrait of Juanita Nelson

  • 1923 Juanita is born in Ohio. She grew up in Cleveland.
  • 1939 Juanita initiates her first civil rights action at age sixteen, by sitting in every car of a Jim Crow train headed for Georgia.
  • 1943 Juanita’s action at a drug store lunch counter results in her first arrest. She is a nineteen-year-old sophomore at Howard University in Washington D.C.
  • 1943 Juanita helps to “open”—desegregate—the Little Palace Cafe on the edge of the Howard University campus.
  • 1944 Juanita is co-founder of the Cleveland Committee of Racial Equality, affiliate of the National Congress of Racial Equality.
  • 1944 Juanita meets Wally Nelson. Working as a journalist; she interviews him while he is in jail as a conscientious objector.
  • 1947 Wally participates in the Journey of Reconciliation, the first “Freedom Ride.”
  • 1948 Juanita and Wally become partners and join Peacemakers. They become war tax resisters.
  • 1948-1955 Juanita and Wally join in community with Marion and Ernest Bromley in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • 1957 Juanita and Wally move to Philadelphia.
  • 1957 Juanita and Wally spend four months at Koinonia Farm in southwest Georgia.
  • 1959 Juanita is brought to federal court in Philadelphia for war tax resistance.
  • 1970-1974 Juanita and Wally homestead in Ojo Caliente, New Mexico.
  • 1974 Wally and Juanita move to Woolman Hill in Deerfield, Massachusetts, where they start an organic vegetable farm and help organize the Greenfield Farmers Market.
  • 1975 Juanita and Wally Nelson stimulate the organization of the Pioneer Valley War Tax Resisters.
  • 1978 Juanita and Wally Nelson are founding members of the Valley Community Land Trust, whose residents do not own the land, but have ninety-nine year renewable leases.
  • 1988 Juanita publishes A Matter of Freedom and Other Writings.
  • 2007 Juanita continues to live in Deerfield, Massachusetts.


top of page