Illustration of a black building with a nuclear symbol on it and a white cloud coming out of it with black text inside on a blue background
DONNELY/COLT BUTTONS, BOX 188 HAMPTON CT 06247
This button was worn by anti-nuclear protesters following the partial meltdown of the Three Mile Island (Pennsylvania) nuclear power plant in 1979. The Three Mile Island meltdown, which happened on March 28, 1979, is considered the worst commercial nuclear accident ever in the United States. The accident and subsequent repercussions gave credibility to some of the claims of the anti-nuclear movement that had emerged during the late 1960s following the commercialization of nuclear energy.
For months following the partial meltdown, protesters held anti-nuclear demonstrations all around the country. The largest demonstration occurred in New York City in September, 1979, and attracted over 200,000 people. A series of “No Nukes” concerts held at Madison Square Garden accompanied the demonstration. The reference to cows on this button is an allusion to claims that herds of cows developed severe radiation poisoning immediately following the accident.
The button was designed by Carter Wentworth and was originally created for the Greenfield, Massachusetts group Alternative Energy Committee of Franklin County in 1976. According to Donnelly/Colt it was one of the most popular buttons of the anti-nuclear movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s.