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Red Feminism

American Communism and the Making of Women's Liberation

Kate Weigand

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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…

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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Red Feminism

Kate Weigand

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Reviews

Reviews

Richly detailed... It will appeal to general readers interested in the history of U.S. progressive movements and women's history.

The gulf between first- and second-wave feminism seems less broad thanks to this thoughtful analysis of women's activism with the Communist Party U.S.A. between World War II and the mid-1950s... An important supplement to standard histories of American feminism.

This excellent book will play a strong part in passing on ideas and concepts to future Democrats, Republicans, Communists, and citizens of the world.

An interesting, well-documented book.

Weigand's staggeringly extensive research draws from previously unused sources, including the U.S. Communist press and the letters published therein on feminism. Red Feminism will become a classic work at the intersection of radical, feminist, and African-American history.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
240
ISBN
9780801871115
Illustration Description
7 halftones
Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction: Old Left Women, the U.S. Women's Movement, and the Legacy of Anti-Communism
Part I: Foundations
Chapter 1. Building Unity Amidst Diversity

List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction: Old Left Women, the U.S. Women's Movement, and the Legacy of Anti-Communism
Part I: Foundations
Chapter 1. Building Unity Amidst Diversity: Ethnicity, Race, and Gender in the Early Years of American Communism
Chapter 2. The Mary Inman Controversy and the (Re)Construction of the Woman Question, 1936–1945
Chapter 3. The Congress of American Women: Catalyst for Progressive Feminism
Part II: Transformations
Chapter 4. Women's Work Is Never done: Communists' Evolving Approach to the Woman Question, 1945–1956
Chapter 5. Claudia Jones and the Synthesis of Gender, Race, and Class
Chapter 6. Communist Culture and the Politicization of Personal Life
Part III: Connections
Chapter 7. Old Left Feminism, the Second Wave, and Beyond
Notes
Essay on Sources
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Kate Weigand

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