In Karen Sander's dystopian young adult book Tankborn, the world is a stringent caste system where race and origins determine all status. Tankborn was a hit and the sequel, Awakening, just came out this April, which means now is a great time to discuss the race and gender angle of the book.
Maybe you've been seeing Sarah Palin in the news "news" recently? She's touring American landmarks with her family in a big ugly bus to "promote the Fundamental Restoration of America." Should you be scared that those words are capitalized? I am. One of Palin's recent stops was New York City, where in addition to dining with Donald Trump, she visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. What better place to appreciate the work and impact of immigrants in the United States! Oh wait, she decided this would be a good place to trash the DREAM Act.
I knew the Little House on the Prairieseries from my mom reading it out loud to me over the span of many many months. As an idealistic Midwestern youngin', I felt a connection to the Ingalls family, romanticizing the debilitating diseases, crippling crop failures, and other completely unrelateable nineteenth-century pioneer ailments they experienced throughout their homesteading and pioneering. (Did I take a family vacation to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum in Mansfield, Missouri? Yes.) And as an only child, I was delighted to learn Laura Wilder's only daughter aided with the completion of the books. But Judith Thurman's recent New Yorker article "Wilder Women" explores the lives and politics of both Laura Wilder and her daughter, removing both the series and the women behind it from the rosy lens of American lit-lore.
If you think politics today is a boy's club imagine 1860s America. The Civil War was beginning, slavery was not yet illegal, and women were still a good eighty years from receiving the right to vote. Yet one fiery young woman was able to become a national celebrity through her impassioned speeches on social reform. Anna Elizabeth Dickinson had her first anti-slavery piece published at the age of fourteen. As an advocate for black suffrage in addition to emancipation, and equal opportunity and pay for women in addition to the vote, Dickinson was one of the best-known reformers of her time.
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. day, and our Adventures in Feministory takes us to Fannie Lou Hamer, who like many women activists of the American Civil Rights Movement (and social movements in general), is often overlooked despite her staggering contributions to social change.