Follow JOR @ twitter.com/joyofresistance and listen on WBAI radio @ 99.5 FM Streams live @ http://www.wbai.org
Along with renewed attention to the 1963 Great Civil Rights March on Washington on its 50th Anniversary, on August 28, the spotlight has fallen on the fact that women Civil Rights leaders were virtually absent from the speakers list– appearing only as singers or as non-speakers adorning the stage. Women such as Dorothy I. Height (President of the National Council of Negro Women), noted attorney Pauli Murray and Anna Arnold Hedgeman (the only woman on the “Executive Committee” organizing the program), fought fiercely with male leaders of the March for greater women’s representation–but were repeatedly given excuses such as “women are already represented because hey are members of organizations that will have (make) speakers”.
Less known is the story of how the frustration engendered by that experience, later became part of the mix that led to the the founding of the National Organization for Women, three years later in 1966.
On Wednesday, September 4, 2013, 9-10 PM, Joy of Resistance will present, as its featured segment, a discussion of this remarkable chain of events. Hosted by Fran Luck, guests will be noted SNCC activist Zoharah Simmons and former NOW-NJ President Maretta Short and will include readings from Dorothy Height’s essay “We wanted the Voice of Woman to Be Heard: Black Women and the 1963 March on Washington.”* in which Height describes what went on behind the scenes of the March, –and includes an excerpt from the Pauli Murray speech at The National Council of Negro Women, which made a great impression on Betty Friedan.
Macy’s involved in quashing Texas Equal Pay Bill–we’ll cover Ultra Violet’s demo at Herald Square:
We’ll also cover a demonstration that took place last Thursday in front of Macy’s department store at Herald Square, organized by the online activist group Ultra Violet. Feminists presented a Macy’s staff-person, with 90,000 petition signatures demanding that Macy’s apologize for helping to quash a state-level version of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in Texas. They also demanded that Macy’s pledge to fully support equal pay for women in the future. We’ll speak with Kat Barr, Chief of Staff for Ultra Violet about the the campaign, which started after it was revealed (in The Houston Chronicle) that Governor Rick Perry had vetoed the bill after receiving letters against the measure from the Texas Retailers Association–-including mega-retailers Macy’s and Kroger. The vetoed bill would have allowed victims of wage discrimination sue in state court–considered a much more convenient and affordable a procedure for working people, than suing in Federal Court. Forty-two states have passed similar state-level bills. There is also an ongoing online boycott of Macy’s, called by the group Progress Texas “until Macy’s supports equal pay for equal work.” Macy’s is considered particularly vulnerable to a women’s boycott, as the holiday season approaches.**
Interview with participants in Abortion Rights Freedom Ride
Our final segment will be an interview with participants in the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, which started on July 24 and continued through much of August and traveled to key areas where access to abortion is under extreme assault, including Fargo, North Dakota; Wichita, Kansas and Jackson, Mississippi. Vans left from the east and west coasts, converged in Fargo and held protests, press conferences, public outings, and presented “Abortion providers are heroes!” awards to clinics and providers. The Ride, organized by Stop Patriarchy, is a response to the dire emergency posed by the worsening erosion of the right to abortion in this country. Joy of Resistance will speak live in-studio with Sunsara Taylor and some of the young activists who participated in the ride .
More on the Civil Rights March / NOW connection!
Depending on which testimony one consults, Betty Friedan has written, both in her 1983 introduction to “The Feminine Mystique” and in an interview she gave to Cynthia Fuchs Epstein in Dissent magazine (1999), that she was approached by Pauli Murray and Sonia Pressman Fuentes, both involved with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, with the idea of starting an “NAACP for women” and that the idea of starting N.O.W. came from them and not from her. Friedan also says in “It Changed My Life” that she had heard of the rousing speech that Murray had given at The National Council of Negro Women, in which Murray had railed against the exclusion of women speakers at the 1963 March. Murray had said that women were not going to get anywhere unless they themselves marched on Washington. Friedan, herself had been reluctantly coming to the conclusion that Title 7, of The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which had included discrimination based on gender, only as an afterthought–and as a possible attempt to derail the anti-racist legislation), would not be enforced as it applied to women, unless an organization was formed that would mobilize “public pressure”. The National Organization for Women was the answer to that need.
*Sisters in the Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement, ed. By Betty Collier-Thomas and V.P. Franklin, NY University Press.
Joy of Resistance: Multicultural Feminist Radio @ WBAI airs on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month, at 9-10 PM. We cover the ongoing worldwide struggle of women for full equality and human rights. You can follow us at twitter.com/joyofresistance and follow/read our blog at joyofresistance.wordpress.com . Programs stream live @ wbai.org where they are also archived for 90 days.
WBAI NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT!!!
WBAI @ 99.5 FM broadcasts to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and is part of the Pacifica Radio Network, one of the few alternatives to the corporate-controlled media that dominate the airwaves–the station has been facing extremely hard times since Hurricane Sandy and needs your financial support at this time to continue broadcasting. We cannot afford to lose this legendary 53-year old non-commercial progressive radio station! Please consider going to http://www.wbai.org and contributing whatever amount you can to help keep alternative radio alive. If you join as a “WBAI Buddy” at $10. or more a month (the WBAI “Buddy Program”), you can help sustain the station permanently (and be entitled to a range of gifts). Joining the WBAI “Buddy Program” in the name of Joy of Resistance will also be a vote for feminist radio at WBAI.Thank you for your support!.