Red Feminism: American Communism and the Making of Women's Liberation

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JHU Press, Oct 7, 2002 - History - 240 pages
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Drawing on substantial new research, Red Feminism traces the development of a distinctive Communist strain of American feminism from its troubled beginnings in the 1930s, through its rapid growth in the Congress of American Women during the early years of the Cold War, to its culmination in Communist Party circles of the late 1940s and early 1950s. The author argues persuasively that, despite the devastating effects of anti-Communism and Stalinism on the progressive Left of the 1950s, Communist feminists such as Susan B. Anthony II, Betty Millard, and Eleanor Flexner managed to sustain many important elements of their work into the 1960s, when a new generation took up their cause and built an effective movement for women's liberation. Red Feminism provides a more complex view of the history of the modern women's movement, showing how key Communist activists came to understand gender, sexism, and race as central components of culture, economics, and politics in American society.

 

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Contents

Building Unity amidst Diversity Ethnicity Race and Gender in the Early Years of American Communism
15
The Mary Inman Controversy and the Re Construction of the Woman Question 19361945
28
The Congress of American Women Catalyst for Progressive Feminism
46
Transformation
65
Womens Work Is Never Done Communists Evolving Approach to the Woman Question 19451956
67
Claudia Jones and the Synthesis of Gender Race and Class
97
Communist Culture and the Politicization of Personal Life
114
Connections
137
Old Left Feminism the Second Wave and Beyond
139
Notes
159
Essay on Sources
203
Index
213
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About the author (2002)

Kate Weigand is an archivist at the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College and teaches courses in U.S. history and women's studies.

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