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McGehee, Fielding M., III | Special Collections & University Archives

Name: McGehee, Fielding M., III
Variant Name: Mac McGehee
Fuller Form: Fielding Merwin McGehee III


Historical Note:

Fielding Merwin McGehee III was born in Charlottesville, Virginia at the end of the 1940s at the height of the Baby Boom. He is the oldest child of parents Fielding McGehee, Jr. and Helen McGehee. Due to his father’s occupation, McGehee spent a significant portion of his adolescence in the Netherlands. He was rebellious as a teenager, a time that coincided with the period of social tumult in the mid-to late-1960s. As part of that rebellion, at Antioch College in Ohio McGehee became an activist against U.S. involvement in Vietnam, an activism which led him to drop out of college and pursue a leadership role in antiwar organizations. Furthermore, McGehee became an active resister to the military draft.

After a four-year hiatus, McGehee returned to Antioch College to complete a degree in journalism and political science. Following the failures of an early marriage and an ill-conceived business venture in journalism that had taken him to California, Fielding returned to Washington in 1977. There he renewed a friendship with a former college classmate and fellow writer, Rebecca Moore - a friendship that soon evolved into romance and marriage in 1980, both of which continue to this day. Fielding followed Rebecca in her several careers – first in television production, then as a college professor – in South Dakota, Montana, Nevada, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and California, before their recent relocation to Friday Harbor in Washington State.

Fielding McGehee has had several careers with public interest groups – the National Council to Repeal the Draft, the Military Audit Project, and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press among them – but it wasn’t until the 1978 tragedy in Jonestown, Guyana which resulted in the deaths of more than 900 people that he found his calling. He is the co-founder of the Jonestown Institute, an online resource which seeks to honor both the living and the dead from the tragedy, and to gather as much information as possible – including reflections of the survivors – into a single place. More than 15 years after its beginning, the resource is the largest repository of government records on the tragedy, the only location with a complete listing of everyone who died that day – including biographical information, photos, and remembrances from loved ones – and a collection of original and reprinted academic articles from numerous perspectives. The Jonestown Institute continues to thrive at http://jonestown.sdsu.edu.

Sources: Fielding Merwin McGehee III.





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