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tv   Lectures in History Gender 1960s Activism  CSPAN  August 11, 2019 12:00am-1:11am EDT

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used to wear hoods in to do this at night. they don't think they have to wear hoods anymore. in charlottesville, this was their coming-out party. but they got hurt badly in charlottesville. >> watch sunday at 9:00 p.m. eastern on book tv on announcer: next on lectures in history stevenson university , professor jamie goodall taught a class about female activists and the 1960s civil rights movement. she focuses on several women in the student nonviolent coordinating committee, who held leadership roles, and the challenges they faced. prof. goodall: today we have shifted into the 1960's. one of the things about the 1960's is this idea that americans felt they were on the precipice of promise, of greatness. the 1960's held a lot of
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possibility, a lot of opportunity, and the post-war era. in 1961, jfk had been elected president. he is young, charismatic, a and he had a platform on a number of promises, so this should give context for where the women's movement is coming into play as we work through these overview issues. now the 1960's, as much promise as there was, we also know there were a lot of issues, particularly racial issues, but it was a period of great change. warfare. and for those who did find promise in the 1960's, there were those who did not get access to that. so there are a number of individuals and groups fighting for that access. you have the 1967 detroit riots, a series of political assassinations. jfk in 1963.
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1968, the assassination of martin luther king jr. and bobby kennedy, so there is fear about what this change means and people are reacting to that. focusing on jfk, because we will be talking mostly about women in the civil rights movement today, focusing on other women's experiences on wednesday, but to give you an idea, jfk was initially hesitant. we have a legacy now of him as a major shaker in the civil rights movement. but he was hesitant and cautious about the civil rights movement in the initial year or so of his presidency. he was very concerned about alienating southern politicians and voters, because we are still in a period of deep segregation in the south. but in 1963, he issues the report to the
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american people on civil rights. this is his response to black americans who argued with him that you've made these promises for civil rights and you are not making much progress on them. he realized that civil rights was not just a general issue, but a moral issue for the nation, so he moves beyond some of that initial hesitation. it signified to people that there was change happening, at least at the administrative level, but after kennedy's assassination later that year, the question is will that progress continue? will the promises that jfk offered come to fruition? there are concerns about lbj, his vice president who takes over in 1963, but johnson was shrewd as far as politics go and
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he takes the legislation and content of the earlier speech and incorporates that into what would become the civil rights act of 1964. this act was part of the great society legislation, this domestic policy platform that lbj adopts after becoming president. prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin. it was designed to prohibit unequal application of voter registration requirements, racial segregation in schools , employment, public accommodations, et cetera. this act was significant, but it still takes time to implement those pieces, particularly in areas where people were not as keen on this legislation.
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johnson also puts forth the voting rights act of 1965, which some say is the most significant piece of the civil rights era legislation, but it prohibited racial discrimination in voting. now, this is all well and good, but during jfk's and lbj's presidencies, we also see a significant increase in our involvement in the vietnam war. it is also caught the second indochina war. in vietnam, it is known as the american war. it started in 1955, lasted until 1975, but it is the 60's we see that increase, from fewer than 1000 troops in 1959, by 1963, 16,000 troops involved. at the start of 1964, 23000 troops. by the end of 1964 with the gulf of tonkin resolution, lbj has increased true presence to
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184,000 troops. you can see that rapid increase in the 1960's. this also is a period where we see the deployment of ground troops for the first time, so americans are becoming more conscious of what our involvement in vietnam means. you will see a rise in antiwar protest movements in particular. fatalities in the vietnam war, the more troops you put in, the more lives that will be lost. at the end of the vietnam war, 58,000 americans are killed. that is a significant number and a reason for protests in the u.s., but protesters were also keenly aware of the fatalities happening in vietnam, not just soldiers, but civilian casualties. estimates range from 966,000
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vietnamese soldiers and civilians to upwards of 3.8 million, depending on which records you are looking at. there are also hundreds of thousands of laos and cambodians killed. and women are playing a very important role in these antiwar protests. part of it, you see the increase in draft issues. women are not being drafted, but their husbands, their sons, the men in their life are, so they are home trying to get involved in this movement. we are also in the era of the civil rights movement. it is a movement that has a long history. some have argued we need to refer to the 1950's and 1960's as the modern civil rights movement, because it did not just pop up in the 1950's, but we will see significant strides in the 1950's and 1960's as the movement fights for constitutional and legal rights
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and protections granted to americans everywhere. the civil rights movement will inspire a series of other movements during this time period, some more well-known than others. the women's rights movement, what we will be talking about as the second wave of feminism. we will define what that means in a minute. mexican americans are fighting for bilingual education programs in schools, worker protections, the unionization of farmworkers . indigenous americans demanding the federal government recognized land rights and indigenous sovereignty. they are seeking control over indigenous lands and resources in attempting to preserve indigenous cultures and indigenous women, who we will talk about on wednesday, will take a key role as well. this is also the era of the lgbt movement.
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this is where gay and lesbians individuals at the time are focusing on ending legal discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. this will pick up with the end of the 1960's with the stonewall incident in 1969, but we will see how that movement is taking shape in response to the civil rights movement. so this is our context in which women are operating, women are recognizing the roles, and the ways in which they can affect change locally and nationally. so if we think about second wave feminism, this idea of feminism as a wave is the result of
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martha wyman lear's new york times article, the second feminist wave. prior to this, people were not thinking about feminism in those terms, but she argues "feminism, which one might have supposed is dead as a pollish question, is again an issue." as she is writing about it but she is making the case this is a new, that women had a history of activism and fighting, and it is just now becoming a national issue once again. she said proponents call it the second feminist wave, the first having ebbed and having disappeared into the sandbar of togetherness." there are issues with the terminology, this idea as it the wave as a metaphor. one historian argues this can be a useful term in terms of reminding people that the current movement had a past, but it can be reductive.
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it suggests whether explicitly or implicitly that each wave of feminism is a monolith with a unified agenda. that women of all types are fighting together for the same common causes. it implies also that feminism peaks at certain times and receces at others, and so it can ultimately ignore the conflicting ideals, goals, agendas of these different women, different groups of women. for example, the women we would talk about today in the student nonviolent coordinating committee, black women's experiences in activism will not be the same as white women's experiences, and their goals will not necessarily be the same. women in the workforce, for example, equal pay for equal work. i mean on its head that sounds like it would apply to all
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women, but the issue is that, despite the fact that women of color and white women might be fighting for that, it ignores the fact that women of color, black women especially, made less than their white female counterparts. so there is a race issue along with that gender issue that is not affecting white women's activism. women are fighting for things like contraception and birth control. we will see a series of landmark supreme court cases through the 1960's and 1970's which gave married and unmarried women the right to use birth control. we have griswold versus connecticut in 1965, which struck down a law stating that married couples could not use birth control or inform themselves about it, going all
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the way back to the comstock law era. so this particular court case allowed married couples to access contraception and contraceptive information. it will not be until 1972 that a supreme court case argues that unmarried people, unmarried women, should have the same access to contraceptives and information as well. by the end of the 1960's, 80% of married women of childbearing age were using contraception. part of this is made possible because in 1960, the federal government approved the production of the birth control pill. this made it easier and more effective, despite many of the numerous side effects. easier for women to access contraceptives and take personal control over their bodies, as opposed to other contraceptive methods. women are fighting for the end of sexual harassment and
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domestic violence. for example, the criminalization of marital rape. that doesn't start into the mid-1970's, so throughout this this time period we are talking about, women are fighting for control of their lives and bodies. marital rape is not a crime in any state. women are fighting for equality. the feminist mystique comes out during this time period, and she argues women are fighting for a thing that has no name, this systemic issue, this systemic sexism the taught women that their place is in the home comic they should find enjoyment and fulfillment in caring for that home and raising up their husbands, rearing their children, having children but if
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you couldn't have children, there is another issue as a woman. if women could not find enjoyment or fulfillment in their roles as housewives, it was only because they were broken and perverse. it is their problem. friedan argues, i thought there was something wrong with me, because i did not have an orgasmic waxing the floor. she is putting it out there. she is unafraid. but she is also working in a context, the national organization for women, were fighting for the equal rights amendment. it is formed in 1966. in 1968, series of women protests the miss america pageant as sexist, paternalistic, argues women are being judged purely on the physical appearance despite the fact that organizers of the pageant were like, but they are also talking about their plans for the world and what they know. the protesters were like, absolutely not. this is a huge issue. contrary to popular belief, it
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is not like all of the women out there are going to dumpsters and throwing their bras in and burning everything. that's not how it works. there no bra burning. there might have been as they one. protest the pageant, however, and other protests against the sexist ideals, they are taking tokens, symbols, or items they feel represent oppression, so the bra might be one of those, but they are also running around and collecting playboys and setting those on fire. you don't hear about that. that is far more interesting than setting a bra on fire. there taking items from the home. mops, brooms, whatever. they are destroying these ideals in a physical form, but frameworks like friedan's the feminine mystique, they are really specific if you get down to it to white middle-class women. despite the demands of equal pay for equal work, it is one thing
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if you're being denied the opportunity to work because you want to work, but it is another thing to be denied the opportunity to work when you need to work. when it came down to the families in the 1960's, far more women of color needed to work to supplement household incomes because even men of color are making less than than their white counterparts. and so, again, they are fighting for different things. another example is the right to contraception and contraceptive knowledge. while black and white women are fighting for that information, that right, fighting for access to abortions, there is something that black women have to put up with that is not part of the mainstream in his movement, and that is to stop the forced sterilization of people of color in people with disabilities.
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because that had not been a lived experience of most white women at the time, it was not part of that mainstream feminist movement. so there are a lot of different examples of how race and nationality, ethnicity, can play a role in the different lived experiences of women in the 1960's, and we have talked quite a bit about how that operated in the 1930's, 1940's, 1950's. but despite the changes of the 1960's, we are still seeing some of those same issues playing out. we know, for example, that black women specifically are playing an important and prominent role and important role in the civil rights move. yet, how often do you hear their names? who are you most likely to hear about or think of when you hear the phrase, civil rights movement?
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student: most likely martin luther king, malcolm x, mostly all men, not the women. prof. goodall: exactly. the first name that probably come to mind is martin luther king jr. he is the face we associated with the movement. malcolm x is a prominent figure. you might also think about john lewis or stokely carmichael. if you think do of a woman, you might think of rosa parks. but when i have asked my history students in the past if they can name another woman aside from rosa parks, it is often difficult for them to do so. many women in the civil rights movement are facing gendered discrimination and sexual harassment from within the movement. so they are facing external and internal pressures
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and harassment. according to the national museum of african-american history and culture, the 1963 march on washington provides us a clear and concrete example of this. while the march pushed for equality, while women were instrumental in helping to organize and put the march together, the event was purely dominated by men. the formal program excluded women from speaking. no women were invited to be part of the delegation for meeting president kennedy later in the day. but, as we will talk about some key individuals, i could go on and on all day about different women involved in the movement, but today we will focus on those who took the stance of either
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education or who were student activists. because for this class with each of you being students, you can make some personal connection with their experiences. but black women are serving a strategists, advocates, activists, organizers, and leaders in the civil rights movement despite the dangers of participating in the movement. not only do they have to fear the same physical violence that their male counterparts were subject to, they had an added component they had to fear, and that was sexual violence perpetrated against them. but these women participated anyway. so i will start by introducing you to one person born to a formerly enslaved man and his wife.
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septima poinsette clark is the second of eight children, and she fought, spent her life fighting for educational rights for black individuals. she graduated from the avery normal institute, the first accredited secondary school for african-americans in charleston where she grew up. after graduating, she taught in segregated schools throughout south carolina. while doing so, she earned a bachelors degree from benedict college in 1942, a historically black college. and she also a few years later in 1946 earned a masters degree from hampton is - institute now hampton , university. during that entire period, she recognized that, despite her
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best efforts, these segregated schools, no matter what she did come if they didn't have the same resources, the same funding as all-white schools, her efforts to educate could only go so far. and so she continued to fight for equal educational opportunities and rights. in 1956, she lost her job as an educator because south carolina banned membership in the naacp, and she refused to comply. she had been a long-standing member of the naacp. and because of her work with the organization, she was alternate -- ultimately hired to become the director of workshops at highlander school in tennessee, which was ultimately absorbed into the southern leadership conference. the sclc. during that time period, she and her cousin, bernice robinson another prominent female figure in the movement, created the first citizenship school to educate blacks in literacy,
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state government, and election procedures. and martin luther king jr. relied heavily on her expertise regarding education, literacy, and the roles in which literacy and education could help the voting movements that he was part of. she was so influential that he insisted when he won the nobel peace prize in 1964 that she accompany him to sweden. he was adamant that she had to be there with him because of how much work she had put into supporting his overall movement. and she inspired many other women, particularly students are faced with further segregation. so most of the following women come from the student nonviolent coordinating committee, student
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activists, women getting involved at a young age. they have different experiences. so you heard about clark, born to a formerly enslaved individual. diane nash is born to a middle-class family in chicago. in talking with her, historians, scholars, journalists, she said she didn't truly understand what segregation was, because coming from where she was, it wasn't until she enrolled at fisk university that she realized how impactful segregation was on the educational experience and on the lived experience of students. she became a member of the
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freedom riders. she was also one of the most prominent student leaders of the entire civil rights movement. while in tennessee as a student, she organized sit ins in nashville, and was part of the national sit-in movement, and she let all of the rides from birmingham to jackson in 1961. she took the lead in each of those. she is actually one of the founding members and student leaders of the sncc. she along with ruby smith, j charles jones, they let a sit-in in rockville, south carolina in response to what became known as the rock hill nine. has anybody heard of the rock hill nine? you have probably more likely
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heard of the greensburg sit ins, but the rockhill nine in 1961, nine individuals were arrested during a peaceful sit in, and they refuse to pay bail, choosing to sit out their sentences. this is going to spark a wider protest against that bail system, but she along with the three others went down to rock hill and participated in a sit in there. like the other nine individuals, they were also arrested and refused to pay bail, choosing to sit out their sentences. nash was later arrested for leading nonviolent workshops in 1961, for leading nonviolent workshops for youth in jackson. again refusing to pay bail, to pay into a system which would have forced her to admit to wrongdoing that she didn't believe she participated in.
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she helped to lead the selma voting rights movement with martin luther king jr. in 1963, she organized the birmingham desegregation campaign, so she, too, had direct contact and offered direct assistance via her role in the sncc organization to martin luther king jr. her colleague, ruby doris smith, later married name robinson, she too, like diane nash, was born to a middle-class family. she talked about how she had largely been shielded from the issue of segragation by her family, by her parents, but she was always very conscious of her race, of her blackness, and she did not shy away from that.
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but she had not faced or experience the segregation of many of her peers had. she was a student where she joined the atlanta student movement and participated in sit-ins throughout the city of atlanta. her experiences especially joining with nash and other sncc leaders, at the rock hill sit in, she became the administrative secretary of the student nonviolent coordinating committee atlanta office. she sought to it that the field secretaries throughout the area she, along with nash, helped to popularize that jail/no bail strategy. in her capacity as the administrative secretary for sncc, she created a separate from sncc in which they provided or found transportation for those participating in sit-ins, et cetera.
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in 1966, her work being so effective and important to the larger movement was elected to replace jim foreman as sncc's executive secretary of the first and only woman to have served on sncc's executive committee. she did all of this before the ripe old age of 25. yes, feeling a little old. unfortunately for smith-robinson, her activism was cut short. at the age of 25 she died of terminal cancer.
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but she is quoted -- this is on her tombstone, a phrase attributed to her, "if you think free, you are free." that became a rallying point for a lot of individuals, particularly in the student nonviolent coordinating committee. despite her short time in the movement, she left a long lasting legacy. another individual who helped out with the development of sncc, ella josephine baker, like clark, she grew up listening to stories from her grandmother about life as an enslaved woman. she was raised in north carolina, and her grandmother would often tell her about the time she was whipped for refusing to marry a man that had been chosen for her by her owner. baker's grandmother told her many stories about these experiences as an enslaved
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woman, and this, from childhood, instilled in baker, a desire, a drive to make change, right? she understood from a direct level what it was like to be un-free. this is a situation that not all of the individuals involved in these women's movements understood. she studied at shaw university in raleigh, north carolina. she graduated as class valedictorian in 1927. she was active in many organizations. she was part of the naacp, in the southern christian leadership conference, served as executive secretary in that organization, and she recognized the power that the younger population had come if harnessed and given direction. so as executive secretary of the southern christian leadership conference, she decided to organize a conference of student activists at shaw university in raleigh, north carolina.
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that conference is the founding of the student nonviolent coordinating committee, even though she herself was no longer a student. she recognize the importance of education and student activism. she encouraged the student she engaged with to organize from the ground up. she assisted him by leveraging her connections in the various organizations she belong to, especially the naacp, and that enabled her to connect those students with powerful individuals, and so sncc ends up joining forces with the congress of racial equality, core, and those two organizations put together the freedom rides, so you can see the intergenerational connectedness between baker and the students she engaged with.
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she helped him develop the freedom summer, which was the first voter registration project which attempted to bring national attention to mississippi's racism and physically register black voters who had been intimidated via violence. and she also helped as the students grew into their activism, encouraged him to join these additional organizations and to help spread from where they were to other parts of the nation. and the last one i will introduce you to, which should bring us to today's reading that you had is anne moody. she was born in rural mississippi, the eldest of nine children. her parents divorced while she was young, so to help her mother out, being the eldest, she
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worked for several white families in the area to clean their houses and help their children, do some tutoring with their homework, taking care of him, if the parents needed to be away at work, and she did so for only a few dollars a week, but she did what she needed to do to bring money in for her family. despite the fact that she had to take on such responsibility at such a young age, she graduated with honors from a segregated, all-black high school in 1960, and in 1961, the following year, she went to junior college.
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she went there on a basketball scholarship. that is where she became more involved with these grassroots organizations, particularly sncc. she attributes her original attention and desire to join the civil rights movements organizations as a direct result of the murder of 14-year-old emmett till. you know the story of emmett till, a 14-year-old african-american boy murdered in 1955 because a woman, a white woman, claimed that look at a wrong, whistled at her, and his her brother and cousin decided
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to take "justice" into their own hands, and those individuals were never held responsible for what happened to him. and so his face, what happened to him was plastered in the newspapers, his mother wanted that image out there because she wanted to see what grown men were willing to do to a child, so moody was very familiar with the case. she had seen it, right? she understood the devastation that could occur, so in college, she became involved with the congress of racial equality, with core, the naacp, joined sncc. she left junior college and went to college on an academic scholarship, and ultimately earned her bachelors of science degree in 1964 and used her knowledge and experience during that time to become part of the sncc freedom singers. so in college she joins this group, and in 1963, they participate in the march on washington.
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now the freedom singers are coming from all different areas, and for moody, it is her experience with the singers that really changes her outlook on who she is and what her role is in the movement, and so today, you read ford's article from 2013 in the journal of southern history, sncc, women, and the politics of dress. to give you context of who ford is and where this work is coming from, ford is an award-winning writer, cultural critic, and historian, currently an associate professor of african
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studies and history of the university of delaware. she describes her work, and you can see this clearly with the article, as centering the experiences of black women, girls and non-binary fems using the lens of material culture, fashion, beauty, and body politics. she has several books dealing with these issues, including liberated threads, black women, style, and the global politics of soul, and a forthcoming manuscript this summer, dressed in dreams, a black girls love letter to the tower of fashion. and in this article, she speaks to you about what physical appearance can mean, what it represents, how changing it changes a message, and she opens up with moody's experience. during this experience for
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moody, she feels very overdressed as a freedom singer, because she shows up and realizes that among her and her fellow singers that she is the only one in the dressed, because early on in the civil rights movement, you will see individuals wearing what might be considered their sunday best. and so here is moody in a dress compared to her counterparts in denim, skirts, and jeans. she starts to rethink what choice means, or what it means to choose your physical clothing, what message that can send. so ford is exploring how black women in these movements, in
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their protests, abandoned respectable, again in quotations, respectable clothing and hairstyles. she explores what this means in terms of ownership of the body, ownership of the movement, and how these expenses are happening in the civil rights movement. so just to give you some framework, the research questions in particular that ford is operating with, she says, why did these young women, why are these young black women making these choices, making the choice to abandon so-called respectful clothing, abandoning processed hairstyles, why? she wants to better understand what that meant not just for him, but their message more broadly, and what does this
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journey, these women's experiences reveal about sncc's radical brand of activism, the intra-racial class politics that play in the movement, and youth culture more broadly. and as we are thinking about gendered activism and how gender affects people's reality, particularly as they participate in these different activists movements, what does she say about how gender affected activism for women then, and as we move into talking about the reading today, i want to get a sense from you what you guys think about whether or not gender is affecting today's means of activism. you can think about the me too movement, the baltimore uprising, and the various
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reactions to police brutality and violence, because women are still playing very pivotal roles in those movements as well, and there is both gender and race and class components at play. again, i am going to work through some of these questions with you and get a sense of your thoughts, then i do have some questions from your classmates. so we will start just, why do you think, based on your understanding of ford's readings in your understanding now of this, why do you think black women are abandoning this, i guess, this clothing, this persona? anthony? student: think it is a way of reclaiming their identity. for so long, beauty has been seen through a white metric. as a result of that, by taking that back in wearing denim and natural hair, they are
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completely getting rid of that white metric in reclaiming beauty for themselves so i think it is a really important part of the struggle for black liberation, black women's liberation, to claim something for themselves in the face of white supremacy. student: to piggyback off of anthony's answer, it is quoted in the first pages that women used to dress to transcend the worldview of blackness and black culture. not to repeat what you said, but it very much was to a white lens, and from my perspective, they were like, we want to make more movement in this movement, we need to be authentically ourselves and we can't keep
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portraying who we are or are not through this lens that society has put on us. prof. goodall: speaking about this idea of reclaiming identity and self rating authentic -- celebrating authentic selves, these are choices these young women are making. what do you think this says about the organization sncc, the radical activism the students are participating in? how do you think it affects their time at sncc, this shift in terms of how they are dressing? student: in the reading, they mentioned they were not wearing skirts and wearing denim, so it became a way for sncc to identify themselves and for black females to express their inner self as well.
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student: i was going to say something similar. i feel like they knew they would set their own identity for other black people to follow outside of their organization. it was also something that was hard for them to do, go against the grain, because they were girls to look a certain way and go against their africaness, so him having this uniform was necessary in order to have the rest of the black community to follow this specific uniform as well, so it made their movement stronger, because they are not blended in with what society was saying about him.
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prof. goodall: excellent. this will take us in the questions you guys raised from your reading. it also speaks to gender affecting the reality of activism. i do want to move to some of your questions. you guys raised some really important points from ford's reading. we will start with this first one because it speaks to what you are talking about allison. why do you think black women's moral character, more than their male counterparts, were culled
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-- called into question when it comes to the ways in which they chose to dress and present themselves? so why are they being attacked for that choice more than their male counterparts in sncc? student: i think i would say the reason is women are considered gentle creatures and should be presented in a beautiful way especially activism. if they look presentable, then they might be wanting to talk, but if they dress, not robust, but more assertive and taken seriously, they are going to break those molds, so i think it is about trying to break away, and men, no matter the fashion, they will still be based on the gender alone taken more seriously over a female. student: going off of what she said, but also being that women being seen first, how they are presented is whether they will be approached or taken seriously, so black women were like, if you go without your hair pressed and look on or
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ugly, even because it wasn't what the standard was, then you weren't presentable or you want professional, for your class, no one is going to listen to you if you're in the lower class because you don't have a say, so i think because it was more so towards women like a big controversy because women were supposed to look one way and there was only one thing of what beauty was back then or one way that women were supposed to look, so i think that had a lot to do with it. prof. goodall: yes, i like you are speaking to this idea of women being seen first, her -- heard second, it goes to this idea of being seen, not heard. i heard that a lot when i was a
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little kid. we want to see you. we don't want to hear you. i think for women that that is a phrase that you hear more than male counterparts. somebody over here had thoughts? student: i don't have anything new to contribute. everyone said what i was going to say, but i definitely think women especially are targeted for the way they dress, and even now when you say we want to see you and not hear you, that is a problem. that is pervasive in our society today. more specifically, race has something to do with it because i can remember when president obama was still president, fox news criticized him for the things he wore, so attacking people for what they wear is a means to discredit them. it is baseless. it is baseless. there is nothing to it. it is just a way to discredit someone.
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so i think there is one part to it where there is a gender part, but there is also a racial component too. that is why it was really important for black women during this time to reclaim beauty for themselves, so that way they aren't discredited. they know who they are. they know what their identity is. yeah, that is my two cents. prof. goodall: if we take the gender component out of it, i think about first lady michelle obama, her appearance, i don't even know where to begin, but i will say that for whatever reason, this white ideal of beauty -- we will take it to jackie o. she was the base for unity, -- beauty class, and grace. people went back to her is that -- as that icon of first lady beauty, and that is the person that ultimately ended up comparing michelle obama to so
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many times, and no matter what she did, if she dressed in a style that was seen to be quite -- white facing she was criticized for trying to hard. to hard -- too if she dressed or presented herself in a way that felt authentic to her, she was criticized for that. and it brings together that race and gender component, and you see that play out throughout this particular article, so i think that takes us to this question at the bottom, so as women are actively trying to liberate themselves, they are still being told that the way they look must appeal to authority figures, particularly men, especially in the 1960's they are still the authority figures. do you think that the men, white or black, impacted the ways
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women in sncc chose to present themselves? and do you think men today still call the shots as far as professional appearances? student: i completely agree that the men did impact the way women dressed and presented themselves, because they were the ones that said you should dress a certain way but today, it is a policy thing. the first thing i think of is the army, like women that like color and women who are white with hair has to be a certain way. it has to be put back where women could not have their hair down, or they couldn't have it
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in braids, even if it is short. they can't express themselves. it has to be in a tight bun. that is the first thing i think about, men are controlling what women can wear, even an active military today. you go for a professional job and you have to wear a pencil skirt or slacks and a bit was desperate before, it was only a skirt to show their femininity. sword, if ae-edged woman shows too much for too little, there considered a prude, and if they show too much they are considered a slut. i think men control that completely. prof. goodall: how do you think the women in sncc feel, or were they impacted by the men they were working alongside?
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student: i think the patriarchal norms set up in society for women is directly impacted the women in sncc to change the way they present themselves. i think there -- they saw this as oppressive and chose to react to it, and that is how men impacted the women in sncc. i don't know if there is anything broader than that, just simply realizing the norms set up for him were oppressive, and choosing to reject that was the impact men had. do i think men today still call the shots on appearances? yeah, i think there is a gender, hetero-normative, white standard for fashion. it is applied to women, men, queer people, people of color, and it is very seriously damaging. student: yeah, and to go with that as well, though it did motivate them to liberate themselves from what they were wearing, i can't speak for him, but especially almost
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conflicting, because they have these two sides pulling towards them because they want to take back their fashion, take back this liberation of wearing these denim skirts and claiming something for themselves but also understanding what they wear, even if they are trying to do it as a sense of liberation still gets pulled towards that expectation, so conflicting a lot of the times knowing we want to take back this liberation, but also have to fall within these norms of being presentable or being "dressed well." prof. goodall: go ahead. student: i was going to say one of the benefits from wearing the denim was the practicality for what they were doing during the sit-ins, being thrown ketchup and mustard packs, being hosed down.
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it is impractical to be wearing your sunday best clothing, where denim is more durable, made for that work, so that is one of the practicalities of wearing denim. it was a fashion statement and self-expression, but also benefited themselves for what they were doing at the time. prof. goodall: yeah, absolutely. so do you think the members of sncc, especially the women come -- women, the idea of adopting this sncc uniform, denim, skirts, jeans, overalls, do you think they change their clothing to also become more relatable to the community?
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do you think that if they did, do you think this increase their credibility? do you think this might have hurt their message? how do you think adopting the sncc uniform affected the way people view them from outside the organization? student: yeah, according to the reading, they were saying they went into rural areas, and that is most of the people. they wore jeans and denim overalls and they are coming in all dressed up and they said finally, you know, make them shy away from denim, because they felt like this person doesn't fit in here, so to stop wearing that, people in the rural areas were more comfortable with and coming in and asking them questions and they would answer them better. prof. goodall: anybody else? i think between the practicality of it, given the nature of the activism the sncc members are participating in, as well as a
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variety of different kinds of people. so not only are we dealing with issues of gender and race within sncc and within the larger civil rights movement, we are dealing with class issues and class biases. you might feel less comfortable believing or trusting an individual if they are presenting to you in a way that suggests you are the other, that they are coming in to take charge, or they are coming in telling you what you need to be doing, if they present to you in a particular way, you might be intimidated. you might not feel comfortable. you might not feel like they understand you or represent you. and i think for women in particular, when they are coming into the situations and operating as leaders of the movement, leaders in sncc, they
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have to find ways to be taken seriously in that capacity, because we saw in the march on washington just how, despite all
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