Posted in remembrance of a great friend of mine. *from the Times Argus*
Chester Arthur Briggs Jr.
He passed gracefully, in the manner of his choosing and cradled by lov
Chet was born in San Diego, California, on June 23, 1940. He attended the University of Texas as a young man, where he became deeply involved in the civil rights movement. In 1960, Chet led a movement to integrate lunch counters, movie theaters & local businesses in Austin, Texas.
During this time, he found his personal faith as a Quaker. He went on to organize several peace groups and voter registration drives in Texas and Louisiana, as well as one of the first protests against the Vietnam War in 1961. During summers Chet worked as a forest fire lookout and trail crew leader in Idaho, surviving both wildfires and summer blizzards.
Soon a burgeoning alternative culture movement was sweeping the country, and Chet participated in Austin with concerts at the famous live music venue, The Vulcan Gas Company.
He helped start the first student co-op residence in Austin, in which Janis Joplin was one of his housemates. He was co-owner of The Psychedelic Pizza Parlor, the first live music venue that hosted
During his student days he met the love of his life, Karen Lane, whom he later married. Together they moved to Atlanta in 1970, to open the regional office
This organization eventually became the Southern Center for Military & Veterans Rights, whose focus was to provide legal aid to Vietnam veterans with flawed discharges that jeopardized their futures. During those years he served as movement editor for the renowned underground newspaper The Great Speckled Bird, and he and Karen founded the Georgia Folklore Society. In 1977, Chet joined the congressional campaign of civil rights luminary John Lewis as campaign co-director, which helped build the political coalition that eventually sent Lewis to Congress, where he still serves in the House of Representatives.
Soon after, Chet & Karen moved to Vermont, purchasing a historic house in East Calais that was in need of renovation. Chet became Head Start director with Central Vermont Community Action Council, and later served as administrative director for the agency. He developed two award-winning projects for the Partners of the Americas: Vermont/Honduras
Every moment of
From 1978-82, Chet helped chair the hugely successful
Chet earned his
In 1980, Chet and Karen celebrated the birth of their son, Justin Lane Briggs, who also grew up participating in many of their joys and activities; he now lives in Brooklyn, NY. Since 2002, Chet and his family have hosted over a dozen foreign exchange students from a half-dozen countries.
Few people gave as much support and love to those around him as Chet did; few people laughed, listened and enjoyed life so much as he. Any interest or passion he came upon was explored to the point of expertise. He was truly progressive: politically and culturally ahead of his time,
Atop all the social and political conflicts Chet fought throughout his life, the past few years have also been a long battle for health. Chet was a powerful, resilient man and it took many ailments acting in concert to bring him
The world has been immeasurably improved for his having been in it; the world is the worse for having lost him. There will be a celebration of his life, with music, Chinese food & friends at the Socialist Labor Party Hall in
Please send tributes, photos and music honoring Chet to firstname.lastname@example.org. Gifts in his memory to further the restoration of the Labor Hall may be made to