Man who took vow of silence to speak at Purdue
Wednesday, October 03, 2012 07:58 am
WEST LAFAYETTE — An environmentalist who took a 17-year vow of silence to protest a devastating oil spill will deliver the keynote speech at an upcoming Purdue University symposium.John Francis speaks Oct. 16 at Purdue's Ecological Sciences and Engineering Symposium. He is an author and a visiting professor for the Nelson Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
As a young man, Francis witnessed the aftermath of a 1971 San Francisco Bay oil spill and in protest did not ride in motorized vehicles from 1972 to 1994.
In 1973, the son of a West Indian immigrant stopped speaking to add to his protest. Except for a phone call to his mother after 10 years of silence, Francis communicated solely by writing, gesturing and playing the banjo until he resumed speaking in 1990.