On March 7, 1942, fire engulfed the simple home of 89-year-old Lucy Gonzales Parsons on Chicago’s North Troy Street, ending a life dedicated to liberating working women and men of the world from capitalism and racial oppression. On the anniversary of Parsons’ death, take a minute to reflect on the life she led.
A 1940s postcard extolls Reno as a divorce destination. Photo from Special Collections, University of Nevada-Reno Library.
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, so naturally our thoughts turn to divorce. That’s the odds-even outcome of marriage, if you believe the oft-cited statistic that half of all nuptials in the United States will end up on the rocks. In fact, the overall rate is more like 30 percent, and the frequency of divorce has been dropping since the 1970s, when 37 states amended or repealed their divorce laws, causing only a short-term spike in the practice.
Photo: Ma Rainey and her backing band in 1925. Via NotesOnTheRoad.com
When Gertrude "Ma" Rainey—known as "The Mother of Blues"—sang, "It's true I wear a collar and a tie… Talk to the gals just like any old man," in 1928′s "Prove It on Me," she was flirting with scandal, challenging the listener to catch her in a lesbian affair. It might not seem like a big deal to us now, but back then, pursuing same-sex relations could get you thrown in jail.
This post originally appeared on the Bitch blogs in March of 2010, but we're reposting it because August 1st is Jackie Ormes' birthday. In honor of her birthday, our Jackie Ormes coffee mugs are 25% off! Order yours today.
Jackie Ormes wasn't just the first black syndicated newspaper cartoonist. She was the only black female cartoonist of her time and for decades after that.
On August 18, 1970, Angela Yvonne Davis's name was added to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List for kidnapping, murder, and interstate flight. Being hunted by J. Edgar Hoover for a crime she clearly did not commit made Davis instantly as famous or infamous, depending on your point of view, as revolutionaries such as Che and Mao.
Almost from day one, posters were the way the world connected with Angela Davis.
In a time when prostitution and female education were both considered unwholesome, professional courtesan Veronica Franco established herself a leader in the 16th Century literary arts. Although initially known among the Venetian literati for her iconic beauty and razor-sharp wit, Franco busted through the Venetian glass ceiling with her success in erotic love poems.
For two decades, award-winning American historian and documentary editor Ann D. Gordonhas been on a quest to collect, preserve, and annotate the writings and speeches of two of America's most important feminists, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.
Patricia J. Williams, James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia University, published these words twenty-five years ago in her renowned essay on slavery, race, gender, and rights called "On Being the Object of Property":
There are moments in my life when I feel as though a part of me is missing. There are days when I feel so invisible that I can't remember what day of the week it is, when I feel so manipulated that I can't remember my own name, when I feel so lost and angry that I can't speak a civil word to the people who love me best. Those are the times when I catch sight of my reflection in stores windows and am surprised to see a whole person looking back.
In a symposium last week at Columbia Law School that celebrated her continued work in law, critical race theory, and intersectional feminism, she recalled the climate in which she wrote this reflection on the dispossession of black people in general and black women in particular.
200 years ago, on January 28, 1813, Jane Austen published what would become her most celebrated and widely read novel, Pride and Prejudice. The story of Elizabeth Bennet, whose fate hangs in the balance because she lacks a large dowry and whose family estate is entailed—i.e., can only be inherited by a male relation—is not only loved on its own behalf, but has also inspired countless adaptations and spin-offs. From The Lizzie Bennet Diaries to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, from the BBC miniseries that famously featured Colin Firth in a sopping-wet shirt to Kiera Knightley and Matthew Macfayden getting passionately drenched in the rain (love is so messy!) to Bride and Prejudice and its Bollywood dance-floor moves, the novel has been open to a wide array of interpretations.
In my last post, I wrote about (relatively) recent moral panics and the way they fixate on the foolish, experimental or wholly fabricated hedonism of teenagers or young adults. For this post, let's take a brief look at some of the notable, intoxication-related moral panics of the past.