11 october 1968 & women's liberation movement organizing
#OTD-ish 11 October 1968 The DC Women’s Liberation Movement was planning the second national women’s conference, to be held in November outside of Chicago, in a basement office at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) (1520 New Hampshire Ave NW). Since the women’s march against the U.S. war in Vietnam on 15 January 1968, white women, including Charlotte Bunch, Laya Firestone, Marilyn Salzman Webb and Cathy Wilkerson, formed weekly consciousness-raising groups here. According to Charlotte Bunch, “the group spent most of the winter and spring convincing ourselves that women’s oppression is real. discussing our own problems with marriages, families, work, and beginning an analysis of the roles and oppression of women….”
The October 1968 issue of the Voice of the Women’s Liberation newsletter (which may have been published out of DC) featured a blurb about the upcoming 2nd national conference near Chicago and an article about the anti-Miss America protests in Atlantic City in September. Groups from DC and other U.S. cities participated in the protests.
On 2-4 August, the first national women’s liberation movement conference took place in Sandy Spring, Maryland. There were ~20 women, probably all white, in attendance. At that meeting, the New Yorkers shared that they were planning a protest at the Miss American contest.
Your comments are welcome below. Were you, a family member or neighbor part of the DC Women’s Liberation Movement? Were you a feminist? Were you part of other feminist groups? Did you attend the Miss America protest? Did you attend the conference in Sandy Spring, MD or near Chicago? You may comment privately here.
Photo source: Courtesy Charlotte Bunch. I thank Charlotte for our conversations on 27 July 2017 and for sharing material with me.
According to Bunch, in 1968, the members were largely white, although she does have a memory of a Latina feminist, but can’t remember her name. If you know her, please share.
”Ourstory, Herstory,” A Working Paper on the DC Women’s Liberation Movement, 1968-1971, compiled for retreat, 21 May 1971. In possession of author.
Radical Sisters: Second-Wave Feminism and Black Liberation by Anne M. Valk, 2008.