On the heels of an election season unlike any we’ve ever seen before, longtime Northeast Kingdom resident Dinah Yessne recently launched her political memoir, Politically Defined: Memoir of an Unknown Activist.
The book tells the story of Yessne’s life as a political and social justice activist, taking readers on a seventy-year journey from a fundraiser for Progressive Party presidential candidate Henry A. Wallace in 1948 to her arrest with the Vermont Poor People’s Campaign in 2018.
“This charming and courageous book is a testament to character,” said Sam Brown, director of ACTION under President Carter and ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe under President Clinton. “Beautifully crafted, the book Dinah Yessne has written tells the story of how one person can cast ripples in the world. Her efforts give me hope for humanity.“
The book is a bit of a ‘tell all’ on myself,” Yessne said. “I’ve certainly made some mistakes and I wish I’d had more successes, but as civil rights leader Aaron Henry said, you don’t have to be famous to make things better.”
Yessne is a native of St. Paul, Minnesota who moved to Vermont in 1970. She had a ten-year career in social services in the Newport area before earning her J.D. degree from Vermont Law School in 1981 and settling in St. Johnsbury. She subsequently served as St. Johnsbury regional coordinator for the Agency of Human Services, as an appellate officer for the Vermont Secretary of State’s office, as founding director of the St. Johnsbury Community Justice Center, and as an assistant attorney general. A resident of the Northeast Kingdom for 45 years, Yessne ran for the Vermont House in 1988 and for the Vermont Senate in 2000.
Politically Defined is available at Boxcar and Caboose in St Johnsbury, Green Mountain Books in Lyndonville, and The Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick.