Breaking the Wave is the first anthology of original essays by both younger and established scholars that takes a long view of feminist activism by systematically examining the dynamics of movement persistence during moments of reaction and backlash. Ranging from the "civic feminism" of white middle-class organizers and the "womanism" of Harlem consumers in the immediate postwar period, to the utopian feminism of Massachusetts lesbian softball league founders and environmentally minded feminists in the 1970s and 1980s, Breaking the Wave documents a continuity of activism in both national and local organizing that creates a new discussion, and a new paradigm, for twentieth century women’s history.
Contributors: Jacqueline L. Castledine, Susan K. Freeman, Julie A. Gallagher, Marcia Gallo, Sally J. Kenney, Rebecca M. Kluchin, Kathleen A. Laughlin, Lanethea Mathews, Catherine E. Rymph, Julia Sandy-Bailey, Jennifer A. Stevens, Janet Weaver, and Leandra Zarnow.
Table of Contents
Introduction The Long History of Feminism, Kathleen A. Laughlin
Part I Mainstream, Leftist, and Sexual Politics
Chapter 1 Civic Feminists: The Politics of the Minnesota Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, 1942—1965
Kathleen A. Laughlin
Chapter 2 The Legal Origin of "The Personal Is Political": Bella Abzug and Sexual Politics in Cold War America
Chapter 3 "I’m Glad as Heck that You Exist": Feminist Lesbian Organizing in the 1950s
Part II Women’s Global Visions
Chapter 4 Exporting Civic Womanhood: Gender and Nation Building
Catherine E. Rymph
Chapter 5 The National Council of Negro Women, Human Rights, and the Cold War
Julie A. Gallagher
Chapter 6 From Ladies Aid to NGO: Transformations in Methodist Women’s Organizing in Postwar
Part III The Politics of Location
Chapter 7 The Consumers Protection Committee: Women’s Activism in Postwar Harlem
Chapter 8 Pregnant? Need Help? Call Jane: Service as Radical Action in the Abortion Underground in Chicago
Rebecca M. Kluchin
Chapter 9 Feminizing Portland, Oregon: A History of the League of Women Voters in the Postwar Era,
Jennifer A. Stevens
Chapter 10 Barrio Women: Community and Coalition in the Heartland
Part IV Feminist Consciousness and Movement Persistence
Chapter 11 "Stop That Rambo Shit. . . This is Feminist Softball": Reconsidering Women’s Organizing in the Reagan Era and Beyond
Jacqueline L. Castledine and Julia Sandy-Bailey
Chapter 12 "It Would Be Stupendous for Us Girls": Campaigning for Women Judges Without Waving
Sally J. Kenney
Chapter 13 Building Lesbian Studies in the 1970s and 1980s
Susan K. Freeman
Conclusion Looking Backward, Looking Forward
Jacqueline L. Castledine
Kathleen A. Laughlin is Professor of History at Metropolitan State University in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN. She is the author of Women’s Work and Public Policy: A History of the Women’s Bureau, US Department of Labor, 1945-1970.
Jacqueline L. Castledine is a core faculty member of the University Without Walls program, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she teaches interdisciplinary studies.