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Diana Johnson

2009 Research

Abstract: The Early Beginnings of Black and Chicana Feminisms: Gender Relations and Cultural Influence in the Civil Rights and Chicano Movements

Mentor: Ann Le Bar, Ph.D. EWU History Department

This study explores the origins of black and Chicana feminisms during the Second Wave by analyzing gender discrimination in the Civil Rights and Chicano Movements. I investigate how black and Chicana female activists reacted to sexism in their respective movements, focusing on why some activists broke away to begin feminist organizing while others refrained. I emphasize the unique cultural histories of both races and how the historical experiences of blacks and Chicanos contributed to sexism in both movements. Sexism created a negative atmosphere for female activists who were denied respect and responsibility while being warned that feminist organizing would threaten the success and reputation of the Civil Rights and Chicano Movements. However, as male activists tried to discourage feminist organizing, they simultaneously illustrated its necessity. When analyzing the documents and purpose statements of some of the first black and Chicana feminist organizations as well as the writings and statements of the leaders in these organizations, I have concluded that while sexism caused some women to retreat from feminism, leaders in the first black and Chicana feminist organizations used their experiences with sexism in the Civil Rights and Chicano Movements as direct motivation.

Presentations

8th Annual National McNair Research Conference and Graduate School Fair, Nov 5-7, 2009

National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies, 2009 Pacific NW FocoRegional ConferenceOctober 30, 2009

8th Annual National McNair Research Conference and Graduate School Fair

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