Longest-Ever Picket of White House (30+ Years) Ends; Concepcion Picciotto Dies
Concepcion Piciotto, who conducted the longest-running picket of the White House in history — 30+ years — died on this day.
Picciotto began picketing the White House to protest war and demand an end to nuclear prolifiation some time in the 1980s. The exact date is not known. No one has claimed that there was ever a longer-running picket of the White House. He signs included such slogans as “No More War,” Live by the Bomb, Die by the Bomb,” and others. Five presidents (from Reagan to Obama) served during her protest years, but according to her friend, the consumer advocate Ralph Nader, “Not a single president ever walked across the street. . . to meet her or to recognize her quest for peace and justice.”
She camped out across from the White House under a plastic tarpaulin. One of her admirers was Eleanor Holmes Norton, the delegate to the House of Representatives from the District of Columbia. Norton interceded on an occasion in 2013 when she took a break from her vigil and her stand-in failed to arrive. The police seized her signs and tarpaulin. Norton succeeded in getting the police to return them. At night, she lived in an apartment, which she shared with three roommates. At the time of her death, she was about 80 years old, although no one was certain of her exact date of birth.
In 2011 she was honored by the Shafeek Nader Trust for Community Interest, established by the family or Ralph Nader.
Piciotto was born in Spain, orphaned and raised by her grandmother, came to the U.S. in 1960. Living in Brooklyn, she worked for a time with the Spanish commercial attache in New York City. She married an Italian immigrant and they adopted a daughter in Argentina in 1973. At one point her husband had her committed to a mental hospital.
Learn more about Concepcion Piccitto here.