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Oleo Strut

Katie Hargrave

This image is from Celebrate People’s History/Iraq Veterans Against the War: Ten Years of Fighting for Peace and Justice, a portfolio that celebrated IVAW’s first ten years and was produced by Justseeds, IVAW, Booklyn, Repetitive Press, and the Civilian Soldier Alliance.

(IVAW is now known as About Face: Veterans Against the War)

Oleo Strut, along with The Shelter Half, Coffee Strong, Under the Hood, and others, created cafes to serve as a space for GIs to find support and explore tactics for resistance.

Katie Hargrave is an artist and educator living and working in Chattanooga, TN. She is interested in a poetic and quiet activism that exists within the history and politics of life in the united States. using archival and community-sourced research, Hargrave makes artworks that allow viewers to see themselves as shapers of broad, political systems. She believes we all have power; we all own this history.


A black and white photograph showing young men standing and sitting outside of a building, which has a sign above, “Oleo Strut.” The men read newspapers and drink coffee. Superimposed over them are cursive words in red: “What absorbed shock while building a resistance?” There are oversized industrial drawings of a kind of clasp or strap also superimposed over the photograph. Below, in small text, it states, “Something was brewing at 101 Avenue D in Killeen, Texas, in 1968. Antiwar GIs from Fort Hood began Oleo Strut, a cafe named after the shock absorbers on helicopters used in Vietnam. The coffeehouse became a legal-aid center, a place for teach-ins, and the headquarters for Fatigue Press. Oleo Strut and others like it became the model for a new generation of anti-war cafes like Under the Hood, which is located just four blocks from its older brother.”

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