Reflection by Allyson Hibdon

Cordye Hall was a Dallas Peace Activist, a part of Another Mother For Peace, and a grandmother. I chose to feature Hall in this collection first because she was an activist. However, in reading her letters I learned that she was so much more than just an activist. She encouraged others to get involved in local politics, she was not afraid to stand up for what she thought was right, and she asked hard questions of people like former presidents Ronald Reagan and Lyndon B. Johnson regarding policies she thought to be harmful. Her main concern was a future for future generations and her own children in the face of nuclear warfare. Cordye Hall’s collection is 5 cubic feet filled with photographs of her protesting days, letters to presidents and big corporations, and personal letters to her granddaughters. Hall made a copy of every letter she sent and made personal annotations on some of them. I had the privilege of reading each letter in boxes that exemplified a woman who cared about Dallas, the United States of America, and the future of its children. 

I was drawn to Cordye Hall from the very first letter I read of hers. Her voice, her tone, and matter-of-fact personality jumped from the pages and demanded my attention. Some of them made me laugh out loud in the reading room, making me read lines of her letters to anyone who would listen to her sharp wit and one-liners. Her boldness and fearlessness were and continue to be incredibly inspiring.  I am so glad I chose her and that her work is being featured in our collection. Not only because I find her activism to be beautiful and thought-provoking, but because I feel as though I somehow know her. It's a personal thing, combing through letters and familial photographs. There were times I felt too small to give this incredible woman justice, but the more I got to know Hall, the more I thought that she deserved the utmost respect and recognition. I suppose that's the most beautiful thing about an archive: I got to get to know someone I may not have ever come across and hold her personal documents close and share with the world once again what a Texas activist is capable of. 

The most meaningful part of this project for me was to be able to leaf through her letters and look at photos of Hall at protests well into her eighties. I got to see her values, morals, and ethics come alive on the pages of the letters she kept copies of as she demanded answers, fact-checked politicians, and called out big business for complicity and distribution to war. Her courage leaped out on every letter, each word dripped with meaning and purpose. Going through her collection inspired me to be more active in my community and reminded me that protest and activism are important no matter how big or small they may be. Cordye Hall was the epitome of being the change she wanted to see in the world, and I can only hope that my work in this collection gives her even half the tremendous credit she deserves for her efforts.