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"A Dynamic Force in Our Community": Women's Clubs and Second-Wave Feminism at the Grassroots

"A Dynamic Force in Our Community": Women's Clubs and Second-Wave Feminism at the Grassroots “A Dynamic Force in Our Community” Women’s Clubs and Second-Wave Feminism at the Grassroots melissa estes blair An historian today looking for second-wave feminist action in Durham, North Carolina during the 1960s and 1970s would, at fi rst glance, fi nd very little. Several efforts were made to found a National Organization for Women (NOW) chapter in the city, but none were successful. Consciousness-raising groups and other radical feminist organizations often left little paper trail; one such group appears in neighboring Chapel Hill, but there is no docu- mentary evidence of these groups in Durham. But when one looks beyond these second-wave groups, feminist activism in Durham comes into focus. The public face of feminism in Durham was not pickets or rallies, but rather workshops and a women’s center run by the city’s Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), and efforts by the local League of Women Voters (LWV) to secure ratifi cation of the Equal Rights Amendment. This is not to say that there were no consciousness-raising groups in Durham. But no public actions by radical feminist groups were reported in the city’s newspapers, either the African American weekly the Carolina Times or the daily Durham Sun. The feminist http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies University of Nebraska Press

"A Dynamic Force in Our Community": Women's Clubs and Second-Wave Feminism at the Grassroots

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 Frontiers Editorial Collective.
ISSN
1536-0334

Abstract

“A Dynamic Force in Our Community” Women’s Clubs and Second-Wave Feminism at the Grassroots melissa estes blair An historian today looking for second-wave feminist action in Durham, North Carolina during the 1960s and 1970s would, at fi rst glance, fi nd very little. Several efforts were made to found a National Organization for Women (NOW) chapter in the city, but none were successful. Consciousness-raising groups and other radical feminist organizations often left little paper trail; one such group appears in neighboring Chapel Hill, but there is no docu- mentary evidence of these groups in Durham. But when one looks beyond these second-wave groups, feminist activism in Durham comes into focus. The public face of feminism in Durham was not pickets or rallies, but rather workshops and a women’s center run by the city’s Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), and efforts by the local League of Women Voters (LWV) to secure ratifi cation of the Equal Rights Amendment. This is not to say that there were no consciousness-raising groups in Durham. But no public actions by radical feminist groups were reported in the city’s newspapers, either the African American weekly the Carolina Times or the daily Durham Sun. The feminist

Journal

Frontiers: A Journal of Women StudiesUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Feb 4, 2010

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